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EXCAVATOR QUICK HITCH SAFETY GUIDANCE

Updated guidance to HSE Inspectors reveals likely enforcement action

HSE has published SIM 02/2007/01 Version 3 Safe use of quick hitch devices on excavators providing updated guidance to HSE Construction Inspectors on the safe use of excavator quick hitches, including:

  • common failure modes, in particular with semi-automatic hitches;
  • key issues that inspectors may consider during inspection;
  • guidance on where HSE enforcement may be taken; and
  • recent developments in use and legal requirements.

A quick hitch (QH) on an excavator is a latching device that enables attachments to be connected to the dipper arm of the plant and interchanged quickly. 

This guidance to Inspectors supplements existing Industry/HSE Guidance on QH’s.

A significant number of all accidents investigated on excavators are attributed to the bucket detaching from a quick hitch and injuring a ground worker. Many dangerous occurrences occur when a bucket detaches unintentionally from the hitch, but without injury.

Likely questioning by HSE inspectors

The SIM indicates that you should expect the following lines of enquiry from HSE Inspectors:

  1. Does site supervision know if QHs on the excavators under their control require a manual safety pin?
  2. Is the risk of bucket detachment covered by the risk assessment?
  3. Have excavator operators been trained in the use of their QHs and, where appropriate, in the use of the excavator as a crane?
  4. Is there a checklist in the cab of daily and weekly inspection and maintenance carried out on the excavator, and does this checklist include a check of the QH and lubrication as appropriate?
  5. Is there a record of the inspection and maintenance actually carried out?
  6. What are the management systems for checking whether manual safety pins are always in place?
  7. Are the safety pins inserted where appropriate?
  8. Can the operator explain the type of QH system used (does he/she know whether it needs a safety pin or not?)
  9. Is a manual or instruction card available in the cab?
  10. Does the operator know how to visually check that the QH is locked?
  11. Does the operator know that he should test the security of the bucket after changing it?

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One Response to “EXCAVATOR QUICK HITCH SAFETY GUIDANCE”

  1. EXCAVATOR OPERATOR ADMITS SAFETY OFFENCE | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] this death a range of guidance has been published by HSE and others on the safe use of excavator quick […]