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New safety guidance for lifting with excavators

New industry guidance is now available for construction and landscape operators using excavators for lifting, as opposed to digging, reports The Construction Index.

Entitled ‘Lifting operations with 180o and 360o Excavators’, the guidance document has been published by  The Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group. It is a revised and updated version of the Group’s original guidance publication first introduced in 2008. Additions to the original document are so substantial that the guidance has increased from seven pages to 72 pages.

It sets out the precautions and procedures that should be taken when planning and carrying out lifting operations with excavators and backhoe loaders.

The key risks of lifting with excavators

The guidance sets out the risks of lifting with excavators as follows:

  1. The fast articulation and slew movements of excavator hydraulics
  2. The need to operate the boom and dipper arm simultaneously to keep the load vertical when lifting or placing loads
  3. Standard excavator rated capacity warning devices are designed to warn, rather than prevent the handling of excessive loads and can also be muted by the machine operator
  4. That rated capacity will vary depending on whether the lifting is carried out over the front and rear, or side-on, to the machine
  5. The rated capacity will also vary, depending on whether features such as blades, stabilisers and axle locks are engaged or not
  6. Not all appointed persons will necessarily have the experience of planning and supervising lifting operations with excavators.

Excavator lifting guidance covers

The guidance content covers:

  • Planning and supervision requirements
  • Machine selection
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Specific risk issues
  • Maintenance and inspections
  • A flowchart setting out a hierarchy and sequence to the planning process.

Construction Plant-hire Association director Kevin Minton, who is chairman of the Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group, said:

“As lifting using excavators has become much more prolific and in many cases excavators are only lifting equipment on site, it was time for us to update and expand the guidance, highlighting and emphasising that lifting suspended loads with excavators is no different to the management and execution of the lifting of loads using a traditional crane. The increased guidance means that lift planners now need to think carefully about just using an excavator for the lifting operations on their site even though it may be convenient.”

The guide can be downloaded for free from

Safety paramount at Mr Plant Hire

If you are looking for excavator hire in the London area, Mr Plant Hire should be your first port of call. Founded in 1981, the Company has always been determined to ensure top quality plant, an excellent level of service and an unequivocal commitment to safety continuing as a top priority.

Our team of plant hire experts are available to visit customers either at their offices or on site upon request, thus providing a personal service with the confidence of getting things right first time, particularly where safety is concerned

We pride ourselves on both pre-hire and post-hire service which we employ to ensure our customers’ full satisfaction throughout our partnership. Contact the Mr Plant Hire team now for safety advice on your next excavator or other plant hire requirements.

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