Posted on: October 19, 2017 3:53 pm
Cat® Backhoe Loaders are the most versatile Building Construction Product Machine that you can have on your jobsite. The Backhoe is part wheel loader, part excavator and is an extremely stable machine able to perform numerous applications.
One of the key factors that make a Backhoe a popular workhorse on a jobsite is its light footprint on ground surfaces, making it able to get into areas that tracked machines of similar weight class cannot, and the machine can handle heavy or complex work tool attachments. Making the Backhoe one of the cost-effective pieces of construction equipment you will own, able to move dirt, gravel, snow like a wheel loader and dig like an excavator – and able to use the attachments from both machines.
To help increase your productivity using a Backhoe, here are some safe handling tips for using this machine on your jobsite.
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Tips and Instruction on How to Operate a Backhoe Loader Safely and Efficiently
To help increase your productivity using a Backhoe, this guide to operating a backhoe offers some safe handling tips and best practices for using this machine on your jobsite.
The Backhoe is a fairly compact machine for its class and can safely move around most tight jobsites. As with all machine, operation make sure you are secure with the seat belt on and all controls within easy reach.
Performing Inspections Before Operating a Backhoe Loader
Backhoes come as track or wheeled units and are available in a variety of configurations. Before operating a backhoe, it’s critical to inspect the machine to familiarize yourself with the model and confirm there are no visual signs of damage. Walk around the backhoe loader to review the condition of the tires and look for cracks or rust. Check underneath to see if there’s any leakage and also keep an eye out for potential obstacles that should be a concern.
Safely board the operator station in the forward or backward position, making sure you’re able to reach either side’s control panel while seated. Clean and adjust the external mirrors as needed and scan around the cab for debris. Check your controls and gauges to make sure they’re operational and that fuel and fluid levels are normal. Also, confirm safety equipment such as seat belts and fire extinguishers are in place and good shape.
Buckle the belt and adjust the seat to the optimal position for comfort and visibility. Turn the machine on, looking out for any warning lights on the dashboard. While warming up, cycle through the controls and switch on lights, directionals and climate control systems to make sure everything is working.
Moving The Backhoe
The Backhoe is a fairly compact machine for its class and can safely move around most tight jobsites. As with all machine operation make sure you are secure with the seat belt on and all controls within easy reach.
The machine is capable of maintaining a road speed, so its acceleration is different to most other construction machines – it is also fully capable running at road speed over rough terrain, which can be a surprise to some operators. However on the jobsite you will need a more subdued speed. Keep the Loader in second gear while moving loads on a jobsite to maintain a safe speed.
While the cab and operator position gives you excellent visibility double check the backup alarm. If the Operator has to take the Backhoe out onto the open road to move between jobsites, make sure the independent brake pads and the driver’s seat are locked. In addition check your boom arm and that the swing lock system is in place.
Lifting Heavy Loads
Due to its stability the Backhoe can lift and carry heavy loads. During these tasks the Loader has to maintain a strong grip on the ground. The best practice is to operate the machine on level ground, with the stabilizer engaged and rear wheels at least 6 inches off the ground.
If you have to move the load slow and steady wins the race, drive to your conditions and load, and if you are carrying the load in the front bucket, keep the bucket close ground level as possible. Do not lift the bucket until you ready to tip the load.
Preparing For Excavation
The Backhoe has an excavator arm, which operates pretty much in the same way as an excavator. Make sure when the machine is in position that the stabilizers are engaged before commencing any digging operations. As the operator you are responsible for the dig, place your overburden site in an appropriate location, be aware of your environment and who is working in the trench with you.
Move the backhoe loader bucket over the area you are planning on digging and pull the left and right controls back simultaneously. This operation will raise and then retract the boom and keep the bucket in position to engage the soil. Lower the boom down and in a scooping motion, drive the bucket into the ground and direct it forward and up, keeping the attachment curled to retain the load. Do not overfill the bucket as it will slow you down and put unnecessary stress on the system.
To dump the dirt, move the boom in place, push both controls to the right to open the bucket and pull the stick back to unload. A few rules of operating a backhoe loader safely include not raising a loaded boom too high because of the risk of tipping the machine over. The driver should also always remain seated when operating a backhoe.
Storing the Backhoe
When the machine is not in use, park the backhoe loader on clear, flat terrain and out of the way of workers and other heavy equipment. Always put the front bucket firmly on the ground, set the parking brake and lock the back boom in place. This procedure helps stabilize the machine, eliminate hazards and maintain the hydraulic system.
Always Be Safe
The Backhoe Loader is a piece of construction equipment, do your daily safety and maintenance checks and follow your company’s safe practices and jobsite safety rules. Remember safety starts with you.
Learn More About Using the Backhoe Loader on Your Jobsite
This guide to operating a backhoe is just a basic introduction to some of the strategies and techniques used by experienced drivers. For more on safe and effective backhoe operation and information our current heavy equipment inventory, contact Alban Cat online or give us a call at 888.492.6337.