How to Safely Use Earthmoving Equipment at Home

21 June 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


Earthmoving equipment is often for rent at a hardware or home improvement store, and this equipment can make quick work of digging a pit needed for a new pool or garage foundation, or creating deep trenches for a new garden or other such feature. If you're not experienced in using earthmoving equipment, you want to ensure you choose the safest features and use it safely as well; note a few tips on how to do this before you decide on any rental.

Get safety features on the equipment

When renting earthmoving equipment, you may be only concerned with how much dirt it can move and if it can fit onto your property without damaging the lawn. However, you want to go beyond those important factors and note the safety features any equipment might offer, especially for those who aren't experienced in using such equipment. This might include unrestricted visibility of the entire blade of a bulldozer or bucket of a backhoe, and an automatic parking brake that engages when you stop the machine. 

You might also opt for a cage for the cab of the machine so there is less risk of injury if the bucket should empty its contents backwards toward you, or if you should roll over while in the cab. A cage may also keep you from dangerously leaning in one direction or another to see what's ahead or behind you, and risking actually falling out while operating the machine.

Map out your property

Note with the rental agency the clearance needed for the equipment to work properly; this can include the amount of clearance space for the bucket when the arms are fully extended in front of a backhoe, or how much room is needed for a trencher to begin a trench at one end. Once you know this, map out your property. Clear away anything even close to that needed clearance, including lawn care equipment, small fences for your garden, and the like. Familiarize yourself with the slope of your property, areas of soft dirt, sharp edges of concrete slabs, and anything that might cause a hazard.

You might also put up caution tape around the areas that are around where you will be working; it may seem unnecessary, but the tape can catch your attention when you're backing up or otherwise maneuvering the equipment, as it can be easy to concentrate on the equipment itself and forget to look for nearby dangers. Taping off or otherwise marking those areas around where you'll be working will keep you from running into a garage, onto soft dirt that might not hold up the equipment, or another hazard. Keep these tips in mind the next time you useearthmoving machinery hire.