Skip to main content
ASC BestPractices Index V1

Excavator Operator Tips

Excavator operation and earthmoving projects can be dangerous if the proper precautions and best practices aren’t followed. In order to help your excavator operators use your machines in the most productive and effective way possible while minimizing the chances of accidents, we’ve put together a list of tips they should follow.

Assess the ground before beginning work
It’s important to check the jobsite for debris, loose soil, holes/ditches, inclines, and other obstacles. Even if you know your machine and have an expert excavator operator, a rock, stump, or other hidden obstacle can cause your machine to slide. If the machine catches an edge near any sort of incline or decline, tipping over becomes a real danger. We recommend conducting a full inspection of your work area before beginning excavator operation.

Choose the right attachment
Only use attachments that are approved by your excavator manufacturer. Always adhere to the machine’s owner’s manual for safe operating ratios. Understand that the swing motor is the weakest part of the excavator and can be compromised by the weight of an attachment in certain conditions.

Don’t undercut or overload the bucket
During excavator operation, it’s crucial that you don’t dig the ground beneath the tracks. Stay aware of the location of the lip of the hole you are digging to avoid a dangerous cave in situation that can harm your machine and crew. You also should be mindful of your excavator’s load limits and never exceed them. Overloading your bucket can hinder the stability of the machine and lead to tipping.

Monitor your track position
When digging on a hill or any other slope, your excavator operator needs to make sure the machine’s tracks are pointing up and down the slope. Your tracks should never be parallel to the slope, as this distributes the weight of the machine unevenly and can cause a roll over. Maintain a stable center of gravity at all times.

Know your truck
If you will be loading material into an articulated truck, it’s important to match the truck size to the excavator you are using. It should only take 3 to 5 bucket loads to fill the truck bed. If it takes more than that, then you are wasting time and should use a larger machine or bucket. We recommend positioning the truck on the left side of the excavator, so that the machine and truck are facing cab to cab. The truck should be stopped with the truck bed headboard in line with the rear of the excavator cab. This position allows the excavator operator clear visibility, since the boom is out of the way.

Contact Our Team with Any Questions

ASC BestPractices Excavator V1