Tools to Help You Understand the Construction Industry

Tools to Help You Understand the Construction Industry

How to prevent accidents when operating construction equipment on steep slopes

Tommy Franklin

If heavy construction equipment (such as an excavator or a front loader) needs to be used to dig trenches on a steep slope, there is a risk that the vehicle could topple over and tumble down the hill. If this should happen, the operator and anyone standing at the bottom of the slope would almost certainly be injured or killed. As such, it's vital to take certain precautions when using this equipment on any steep gradients. Read on to learn more.

Secure the equipment to an anchor point 

Using a cable to tie a construction vehicle to a strong structure at the top of the slope can be a good way to stabilise the machinery and prevent it from falling down the slope. However, in order for this method to be effective, the anchor point needs to be strong enough to hold the entire weight of the equipment. Given that most pieces of heavy construction equipment weigh at least a few tonnes, this can prove to be quite tricky.

It is not advisable to tie the machinery to a tree, regardless of how large and secure the tree in question appears to be. If the tree is diseased and structurally unsound, its roots could lift out of the ground when the weight of the excavator pulls on the cable. This could result in both the equipment and the tree falling down the slope.

Instead, a winch should be used. Winches are made up of a heavyweight motorised spinning drum around which a long length of chain or rope is wound. The chain or rope is then connected to the equipment that will be used on the slope. The equipment can then be lowered downwards along the slope, or pulled back up to the top, by operating the motorised drum.

In this situation, to ensure that the winch serves as a secure anchor point, it would need to have a load bearing capacity which is equal to or higher than the weight of the machinery to which it will be attached.

Take care when swinging any bucket attachments

Equipment such as excavators and front loaders come with bucket attachments which are designed to pick up soil and move it to a different location.

It is absolutely crucial to ensure that these buckets are moved correctly to prevent the weight of the load they are carrying and the momentum of the swinging motion they make from destabilising the equipment and causing it to fall over.

On a steep slope, the buckets should only ever be half-filled. Additionally, when operators are swinging the bucket, they should try to keep it as close to the base of the equipment as possible to keep the centre of gravity low. The entire process should also be carried out extremely slowly to minimise momentum.


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Tools to Help You Understand the Construction Industry

To be a savvy consumer, you need to understand a little bit about the industry you are engaging with. For example, if you don't know anything about car repairs, you risk getting bad advice. This blog is devoted to teaching readers about construction. There are going to be a few DIY posts, some advice on hiring construction crews, a look at products such as surety bonds for construction projects, and more. There may also be posts on industries related to the construction industry. I hope these posts give you the "tools" you need to be a savvy consumer. Take a look around, and if you like the posts, please share them on social media. Thanks for reading.