Properly Using a Backhoe Properly Using a Backhoe

A backhoe is a very useful piece of machinery. It can save you a lot of time and hard labor. If a backhoe is not used properly however, it can become a very dangerous machine, causing injury or death. Read your owner’s manual for your specific machine and all of your backhoe's safety instructions.

Pay Attention to Surrounding Conditions

Many backhoe accidents can be eliminated by simply paying attention to the surrounding area. If you are going over rough ground, you will want to drive slower. Be aware of any objects protruding from the ground, such as rocks, tree stumps or construction debris.

Know where other people are, especially while backing up or dropping a load. If you can’t avoid driving on a public road, drive along the side when possible and go at a slower rate of speed.

If the ground under your backhoe is unstable, you should position the machine on a platform to stabilize it.

Check the overhead clearance, to make sure the backhoe will fit into the area you intend to use it.

Your Safety and Your Backhoe

Refer to your owner’s manual and make sure you're familiar with the all controls and levers before operation.

Be carefuly climbing the steps on your backhoe, because slipping is a common accident. If you're thinking of purchasing a backhoe, consider a model that has side step railings.

Other backhoe safety tips include:

  • Make sure your mirrors are adjusted correctly.
  • Check hydraulics for leaks.
  • Make sure the shields are on.
  • Check before starting to make sure it's not in gear. If you start the backhoe in gear it could move forwards or backwards.
  • Always remember to set your stabilizers when you use your backhoe, to keep it from tipping.
  • Inspect the mounting and attachment points for wear and tear, and also check the chain.
  • Never operate your backhoe from the ground.

Other Things to Remember

  • Remember to grease the fittings on the backhoe every eight hours.
  • Check hydraulic fluid on a daily basis. If the level gets too low, your backhoe will not work effectively.
  • Make sure you have the correct size bucket for the job.
  • Mark the area where you're going to dig ahead of time. Call ahead of time as well to check for power, telephone and gas lines underground.
  • Check OSHA requirements for your area to see if they have any regulations you may need to follow.

Be aware and be cautious. Be sure to follow regular maintenance schedules for your machine to keep it in good working order. It's a large investment that you will want to last.

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