There are many reasons why you should maintain safety when using an excavator. First and foremost, safety is your responsibility. If you don’t take steps to ensure that you are protecting yourself and others around you, then who will? You can’t expect other people to do it for you.

Secondly, it’s the law. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) has strict equipment use and maintenance regulations. If caught violating these laws, your business could face serious consequences. 

Last but not least, if there is an accident, then who will be liable? If someone gets hurt or killed because of a lack of proper training and maintenance on your part, then they could sue you for damages related to medical bills or pain and suffering.

To help you and your team operate an excavator safely, consider the following tips: 

helmets for dredging project

Before Operation 

Excavation equipment is a powerful tool, but it can also be dangerous.

Here are safety tips to keep in mind before operating your excavator:

  1. Always wear your hard hat and ensure that it fits properly. The hard hat should fit snugly around your head and not hang over your eyes or ears.
  2. Your gloves should fit well enough that you can operate the controls without having to remove them. It’s also important to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when operating an excavator because these will protect you from flying debris if something happens unexpectedly.
  3. Keep the boom fully retracted when not in use, as this will prevent damage if it accidentally collides with an object or another person during the operation. 
  4. Ensure you never exceed recommended engine speed limits (typically 20% above idle speed) because this can cause overheating or mechanical failure.
  5. Always check the controls before you start up the excavator. If the machine does not respond to your commands, stop and check for obstructions before trying again.
  6. Never operate an excavator on an incline or slope greater than 15 degrees.
  7. The operator should be positioned in front of and behind the boom at all times, as well as keeping a hand on the control lever while operating.
  8. Ensure all employees have been trained in excavation safety procedures and have been issued with appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

during excavation work

During Excavation

Excavator safety is essential during operations because it will help you save lives and prevent injuries. In the construction industry, accidents are common and can often result in death or severe injury. 

Accidents can be caused by improper operation or a lack of experience on the operator’s part. The leading cause of many excavator accidents is operator error. Therefore, it is essential to understand how to keep these accidents from happening in the first place.


The following are some tips on how you can stay safe while operating an excavator:

  1. Always wear your seat belt. The seat belt is designed to keep you safe in an accident. It is essential always to wear your seat belt while operating an excavator.
  2. Do not operate the excavator if you are tired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you’re exhausted, take a break and wait until you feel refreshed before continuing to operate the excavator. If you’ve consumed alcohol or drugs, don’t operate an excavator until your blood alcohol level returns to zero percent or less.
  3. Do not allow anyone on or near the machine unless authorized by your company’s safety policy; only authorized personnel should be allowed in this area during operation or maintenance activities.
  4. Use a helmet and goggles to protect against falling objects and other hazards when operating the excavator.
  5. Keep your head up and focus on where you are driving the machine, not looking down at the controls.
  6. Take frequent breaks, especially if your back starts hurting or feeling tired or hungry. If you are uncomfortable or cannot concentrate, stop operating the machine until your body has rested and recovered from fatigue.
  7. Ensure that you have a spotter who can see what you’re doing.
  8. Never put anything down on the excavator’s controls, as it may get caught and cause damage to them or cause injury to you or others.
  9. Always use your attachments safely and properly, such as buckets and scoops for transporting materials, augers for drilling holes, etc.
  10. Never use an excavator in the rain or snow. If it must be used in poor weather conditions, keep it covered with a tarp to protect it from moisture.

excavator on site

After Excavation

After a successful excavation operation, it is vital to ensure that the site is safe for workers and the public.

The most common cause of injury in an excavator is a slip. This occurs when there is a sudden change in the ground surface, such as where a trench has been dug and consequently filled back in. The machine’s weight can cause it to slip into this area and tip over, leading to injury or even death, depending on how far down it falls.


If you have completed your excavation work safely, there are some precautions you should take before leaving:

  1. Ensure that all of the materials are removed from the site and disposed of properly. Any leftover materials or debris should be kept secure until they can be appropriately disposed of.
  2. Ensure all the equipment used on the project is safely stored in a designated area away from where people will be working. This will help prevent accidents or injuries caused by improperly stored equipment being accidentally activated or tripping over something in its path.
  3. Retain the soil where it is needed on your property. Ensure that the ground is stable enough to support the weight of traffic once again
  4. Conduct regular inspections to ensure that nothing has been left behind by mistake and that no one has forgotten to lock up any tools or equipment before leaving for the day.
  5. Ensure all equipment and tools have been properly stored so they do not become damaged when returning home. Ensure all heavy objects are loaded onto trucks last so as not to damage lighter items when transporting them back home from your work site. 

It’s Best to Keep Everyone On-site Safe

When it comes to excavator safety, it’s important to remember that you can’t just “wing it.” You must research and understand what you’re doing before digging.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your excavation goes smoothly—and safely!