6 Tips for Earthmoving Equipment Maintenance

by ManagerPlus on July 23, 2014

Earthmoving equipment is expensive and complex. Because of this, there are many things you must do to keep it safe and functioning properly. Equipment and tools that function correctly have a lower chance of causing injuries or deaths. This is especially important since thousands of workers are injured annually by earthmoving equipment. Follow these six tips to keep your equipment, tools, and workers safe.

1. Clean Your Earthmoving Machinery Properly

A great way to keep earthmoving equipment and tools safe is to clean it thoroughly. This type of equipment has to do difficult and dirty work which can alter the performance of the machine. Because of this, earthmoving machinery and all its parts should be cleaned regularly. 

Dirt, grime, and debris will start to accumulate on and in parts of the equipment. These parts and tools will become damaged, malfunction, or they'll stop working eventually if they are not cleaned properly. It’s important to only clean heavy machines with solutions that the manufacturer recommends. This helps to avoid damaging delicate parts with harsh chemicals.

2. Train Employees in Machinery Operation

Your earthmoving machinery's parts and tools are in danger of becoming damaged or completely broken if an untrained worker attempts to operate the machinery. The worker is also in danger of becoming injured or hurting other staff.

To protect your employees and equipment, all workers need to be properly trained in the operation of earthmoving equipment. No one should operate heavy machinery without adequate training and qualifications prior.  Training can teach workers the limits a specific piece of heavy machinery may have, how to use the right tools for the job, safety measures to be taken, and operating guidelines that must be abided by.

In addition, have a qualified employee look at the area you're going to use the machinery in, and let them do a risk assessment. They can take a careful look at the machinery and the environment to make sure it's safe and meets all requirements before operating. In most construction and mining sties, having a skilled worker that supervises the operation of heavy machinery is vital. This person should have the training and experience necessary to make sure the operator and anyone in the immediate area stays safe.

3. Lubricate Your Equipment

Heavy earthmoving equipment and associated parts and tools will malfunction or become damaged if they aren’t lubricated properly. Moving parts and components need lubrication because the frequent movement causes friction. This friction can severely damage the parts and tools of earthmoving machinery.

To keep them safe, lubricate every joint as well as all other areas that require lubrication. Do this regularly, but be careful never to use too much, as excess lubrication can cause grease build-up and other problems.

4. Take Steps to Avoid Injuries

Workers should be taught to spot any potentially dangerous problems, and they should know how to handle any problematic situations that might occur. For example, if they have to drive up or down a steep hill, they must know how to select the proper gear.

They also need to know what angle to drive at because they could topple over if they make a mistake. If they topple over, this puts the machinery, its parts, and the worker in terrible danger.

Workers should be taught how to avoid falling off earthmoving equipment. Falls from heavy machinery cause many injuries and deaths each year. You should have durable guard rails placed on earthmoving machinery. Employees also need to repair machinery while standing on the ground whenever possible for safety considerations.

Moreover, workers who aren't operating heavy machinery should stay a certain distance away from it while it is moving. Also, while the machine is not in use, it should be parked in a proper area. Cones or other items should be put around it to protect it.

5. Maintain Earthmoving Equipment

Heavy machinery and tools that aren't properly maintained can be dangerous to operate. Improper maintenance can cause the tools and other parts to become damaged and unsafe as a result. Small problems that aren't repaired may eventually become massive issues that require entire sections to be replaced.

You should have earthmoving machinery repaired immediately if you discover a problem. Also, the equipment should be inspected annually so the mechanic can look for hidden problems and keep it running perfectly.

Another way to keep your heavy machinery and its tools safe and in great working condition is to hire a skilled mechanic to take care of it. They should have a lot of experience working with the type of machinery you need fixed, and they need to do a very good job.

6. Use the Right Parts and Tools

You shouldn't try to attach tools to heavy machinery and use them if they won't fit or aren't compatible with it. If you attempt to do this, you are putting the machinery at risk. Employees are also at risk. Read through the manufacturer's manuals, and find appropriate parts and tools to use.

Also, when your machinery is going to be used to do a certain job, you should check to see what kind of tool is best to use. By selecting the right tool, you'll do the job more efficiently, and you'll keep the equipment, operator, and tools safer.

Earthmoving machinery is very complex and requires proper maintenance, repairs, and regular cleaning. It is also crucial that only trained personnel operate this type of machinery. By following these tips, you can keep your earthmoving equipment and tools safe and functioning well.

Author Bio

Barton Henderson is Manager at Statewide Bearings, distributors of bearings and other parts for earthmoving machinery with branches right around Australia. Connect with Barton on Google+.