Many of the problems encountered are the result of operators trying to run too quickly. “Many machines have ride control and the operators just drive faster across the site,” says Blower. “They are running over uneven terrain too quickly and bouncing all over the place. People try to push the machine quicker and quicker and they compromise safety.”
Understand the limits of the backhoe-loader you are operating. “Do not carry more than the machine can safely handle,” Worley stresses. “Depending upon what materials you are handling, carry them in a level or racked-back position. Use ride control, if equipped, and keep loads as close to the ground as possible until you have to raise them up to load or dump.”
Operation on slopes
Slopes present challenges for almost any type of construction equipment, including backhoe-loaders.
“The stability of a backhoe-loader is at its greatest risk on a hill when it is being driven, not operated,” says Worley. “When you are in operating position, you should try to level the machine as much as possible using the independent stabilizers and your front bucket.”
When operating on a hill, take special precautions. Swinging a bucket of dirt downhill changes the center of gravity in a negative direction. “You should always push a bucket up the hill and dump the spoil on the uphill side of the trench at a distance where it doesn’t roll back into the trench,” says Blower. “We all realize in real-world applications that is not always possible. If you do have to swing the loaded bucket downhill, be very slow and keep your bucket low to the ground.”
Pay careful attention when repositioning on a slope. “If you are trenching, the machine is facing uphill and you are ready to move, you should put the hoe into its tucked, stored position,” says Worley. “Turn your seat to the forward-facing, ready to drive position before you raise the stabilizers. This will give you control over the brakes and transmission, preventing the machine from rolling backwards.” ET