How to use an excavator? The rules for safety

How to use an excavator? The rules for safety


The excavator is the most suitable machine for excavating and is one of the most common earthmoving machines on site. It is designed to be able to remove large quantities of rocks or soil, going deep. It meets specific construction requirements and is equipped with certain technological tools. Therefore, using an excavator requires special skills to set up the job safely. At Kiwitron, we want to provide you with the fundamentals for driving the vehicle in complete safety.

Know the regulations

Knowing the manufacturer's regulations and provisions for the use of the machine is an essential requirement before driving or assigning an operator to the excavation work. 

The main source of the rules governing operations and earthmoving machinery is the unique text on health and safety in the workplace, corresponding to the legislative decree of 9 April 2008, n.81. Below, the main obligations concerning the use of the excavator.

General obligations for the use of earthmoving machinery:

  • Only specifically trained, trained and suitable personnel can be authorized to use the machine. Make sure that access to the vehicle is only for authorized operators.
  • The operators assigned to drive and maintain the vehicle must thoroughly read the instruction booklet before starting work. The booklet must remain in the driver's cabin or, alternatively, in the factory.
  • Do not modify the machine in any way in terms of construction, in order not to alter the manufacturer's safety provisions. 
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE).

Some obligations relating to excavation operations: 

  • During excavation, respect the natural slope angle of the walls 
  • Properly arm the walls to avoid landslides, if the excavation is higher than 1.50 m, in case of proximity to other foundations.
  • Make sure that no workers are present within the range of action of the vehicles, at the base of the attack wall or near the edge of the excavation. 
  • Mark out the danger area with barriers, two-colored tapes or other and affix suitable signs
  • Check that the driving position of the excavator meets the safety requirements (e.g. be equipped with ROPS, FOPS and anti-vibration belt).

For a complete reading of the safety regulations for excavations, we refer you to articles 118, 119, 120, 121 of Legislative Decree. 81/08.

Know the main risks

The above indications respond to the prevention of specific risks. Let's see what the main risks in the use of an excavator.


In certain situations, the excavator is in danger of overturning and crushing the operator on the ground, breaking systems and vehicles.

The unevenness of the ground, the landslide of the bottom or the sliding on damp surfaces can cause this kind of accidents, so it is good to know the type of soil before starting work. One of the most common causes of overturning is the slope of the path, so it is necessary to be informed about the inclination limits of the machine indicated by the manufacturer as well as those of the maximum weight that can be lifted. In the event of a steep slope, it is recommended to use tracked rather than wheeled vehicles and proceed with the load at the bottom.

To ensure the safety of the excavator, the excavator must have protective structures against overturning (ROPS, or TOPS against overturning). This particular type of turret protects the driver thanks to a limited deformation volume (DLV) in the event of an impact.


Excavators can run the risk of being run over by the excavator bucket, boom or cabin. For this reason, some precautions must be taken that make the driving experience safer.

First of all, the ground must never put the operator in the position of not being able to immediately stop the machine. It is also important to check the condition of all the braking devices, to make sure that the path is clear of obstacles and that visibility from the driver's seat is not restricted. If needed, it is good to ask for the assistance of ground operators

In addition, some indications for correct driving are not to have wet or greasy shoe soles and not to exceed 15 km / h.


A particularly delicate moment can be getting on and off the vehicle, so it is recommended never to wear muddy shoes or shoes without grip on the sole. In addition, it is important to remember some precautions:

  • do not use the control levers in the cabin as support points
  • do not get on or off if the car is moving
  • do not carry people in the driver's cab unless the excavator is equipped with a second suitable seat.

4.0 technologies for excavation

Kiwitron has created driving support tools for earthmoving in a 4.0 key.

Thanks to the interaction in real time, through data exchange, between the management system Kiwisat and a wide range of Kiwitron sensors installed on the machine, it is possible to prevent:

  • collisions with specific objects, such as pedestrians, other machines, power lines or elements of the work area marked by appropriate signs;
  • collisions and reversing investments;
  • the exit of the vehicle from the assigned work area
  • access to the vehicle by unauthorized operators;

and take advantage of many other security features of our fleet management system:

  • machine localization and geofencing;
  • risk zone assessment and analysis (near-miss analysis);
  • prescriptions for preventive and predictive maintenance and requests for extraordinary interventions;
  • pre-operational check-list for checking the conditions of the vehicle, with possible blocking of the machine.

Kiwitron proposes itself as a trusted partner to increase security in your company through cutting-edge technologies.


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