• What is the work plan/work method, and how is this communicated to all those involved in the excavator operations?

  • Has a site-specific and current hazard identification/control been conducted?

  • Have workers been trained on its content?

  • Have the key causes of harm identified?

  • Are the hazards identified?

  • Are the hazard controls outlined?

  • How are workers in the vicinity warned of machine operation?

  • Have underground utilities (water, sewer, gas, telecommunications) been identified, located and marked prior to excavation?

  • Have overhead utilities (power/phone lines) or obstacles been identified?


  • Is the site externally secure? (e.g. fencing, barriers)

  • Is the site internally secure? (e.g. fencing, barriers)

  • Are there exclusion zones and/or a spotter around the mobile plant?


  • Operator competency?


  • Operator/manufacturer’s instructions

  • Log books

  • Pre start checks in line with the above

  • Proof of regular planned inspections

  • Operator instruction decals legible

  • Load lifting charts when used for load traversing


  • ROPS - Roll Over Protective Structure

  • TOPS - Tip Over Protective Structure

  • FOPS - Falling Object Protective structure

  • COPS - Cabin Operator Protective Structure

  • Certified and fit for purpose (in the cab)

  • Used with seatbelts?


  • Is the continual movement of the machine increasing the danger of the slew zone managed?


  • Restricted operator views necessitate use of mirrors (if fitted) or spotter.

  • Are movement warning devices active? (Look for audible alarms, flashing lights.)

  • If a spotter is assigned to assist the operator are they aware of control measures and in constant communication?


  • Are quick hitches used correctly and locking pins used?

  • Are lifting eyes/hooks rated and loads lifted within the manufacturers instructions for range and height?

  • Are slings and lifting equipment rated and used correctly?


  • Are hoses and rams free from any excessive leaks?

  • Controls return to neutral when released and operation ceases (can indicate incorrect hydraulic oil pressure)

  • Boom parts and digger attachments show no signs of excessive wear or deformation

  • Safe operator access and egress in and around excavator?

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