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The SAFE Guide to Using Earthmoving Equipment on Slopes

When hiring earthmoving equipment for use on a sloped construction site, safety is paramount. If you're going to be working with excavators on inclines, make sure you follow this SAFE operating guide.

S is for Small Excavators

The first step to earthmoving safely on sloped ground is to hire a small excavator from an equipment hire company. When you're operating the excavator, it's essential that you keep your machine's centre of gravity stable; if you don't, the vehicle will be at risk of tipping over. It's always easier to maintain stable gravity in small earthmovers, so look for a supplier that can provide a mini-excavator. As an added benefit, mini-excavators are also easier to navigate around a site, they cause less damage to the surrounding area and they have lower operating costs than their larger counterparts.

A is for Attachment Position

When moving an excavator up and down a slope, keeping the bucket attachment in the right position is crucial to safety. When positioned correctly, the attachment will help balance your machinery and prevent it from rolling over. When you go uphill, make sure you have the earthmover attachment positioned out and forwards for good rearward stability. Remember to raise the attachment slowly to clear the ground as you reach the top of the slope, and don't raise it any more than necessary. As for travelling downhill, the excavator's arm should be at a perpendicular angle to its boom, and the bucket attachment should be level and positioned slightly above the ground.

F is for Following Guidelines

If you want to stay safe when operating your earthmover, make sure you always follow the operator's guidelines on the machinery's limits. Exceeding safe operating limits can be dangerous when working on flat ground, but it can easily lead to a fatality when you're working on a slope. If the excavator is overloaded and you hit a snag while on an incline, it won't take much to pull the excavator over with you in it. That's why you should always adhere to the safety restrictions, keeping in mind adjustments for adverse weather and different ground types too.

E is for Efficient Movements

When it comes to swinging or slewing the excavator bucket, you'll need to keep your movements efficient to stay safe. The increase in momentum when moving too quickly or too intensely on a slope can easily pull an earthmover over. Always swing gently and keep your speed carefully controlled, particularly when you're carrying a heavy load.