In the Zone - Machine Safety

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Squizzy246B, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 837

    Here's a few pic's of our machines going at it. I have a new operator for the skid so it gives me a little more time to stand back and just observe what is actually happening. (Supervisor:eek: ). Johnny my partner is in the Ex. We have been working the machines side by side for a long time and have a clear understanding. Now I'm spending less time in the machines (and more on the bloody phone:dizzy: ).

    I've worked big machines on sites where the task is usually repetitive and communication is normally by UHF radio. However, on the smaller machines we are all over the place in very varied conditions. The task changes every bucket. The potential for an accident is real. I have the guys talk to each other about what they are going to do and with the horn each time they approach the zone of another machine.

    How do you guys manage your machinery when they working side by side??.

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  2. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    My dad and I always worked side by side with our machines. I was usually on the excavator and he'd be on the skid. The best thing to do is talk thoroughly before you start about what's to be done, how you're going to do it, and who's going to do what. We've never had problems with machines working in tandem, the biggest key is paying attention. If both operators are alert to each other, then you shouldn't have any problems. Neither of our machines have cabs, so it's a little easier to yell at each other, but for the most part the machines were at full tilt and both of us had WorkTunes on, and who'd want to take those off and make the music stop:)
     
  3. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    You just have to be aware of your surroundings its no different working around tree's etc. The contractor I was working for on most jobs there was two machines working side by side or around each other.

    On one job the excavator was swinging full buckets (1 yard) over the backhoe I was running sure a few small rocks spilled and bounced over the hood :nono:

    The worst thing is your on a job and you have to watch out for other people in vehicals on the site. The one site I was on there was building contractors and sub trades in and out of the site 100 times a day. You had to watch for them driving in and out because your backing up with a backhoe it can do some good damage to a car or p/u.

    One of the even worse parts is trying to back a loaded tandem axle gravel truck through the maze of the contractors vehicals parked on the site where you only have inches to spare. I'am good at backing trucks up with mirrors but when you got a tandem grossing 60,000lbs plus and you have to back down this road in one shot weaving through the vehicals and using your judgement :eek:

    The reason why I said it had to be done in one shot is trying to get the truck moving forward again is a little tough to-do its easier to make the reverse in one shot.

    The last thing to leave with ya you can't zone out when running a machine its easy to-do your concentrating on one task and you kinda forget about the rest.

    The last last thing is when ever your running a backhoe or bobcat you always got to know what your backing over or backing into. There were a few times I was backing up and felt the azz end of the machine drop and its oh crap always gotta turn your head to see where your going.
     
  4. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    Good points. The nice thing about working with an excavator/skid steer combo, you really only have one machine moving around a whole lot and that's the skid. For the most part, the excavator stays in the same place, except for the reach of the machine, but within 20 feet you're out of reach of the excavator. As long as the excavator operator is paying attention when the skid comes within range, everything runs very smoothly. Most contractors here run full size excavators in tandem right next to each other, within easy reach. One will be backfilling while the other will be compacting fill around a foundation. Plus you have at least one guy on the ground soaking the fill with water to watch out for.
     
  5. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 837

    That is constantly on my mind as well as the kids that come out of the woodwork to watch the big boys toys. Kids around a site absolutley frighten the crap out of me. I normally round them up, tell them where they can watch from and explain how skids have poor rearward vision. I make sure the parents understand their responsibility to keep them out of harms way. I have actually shut down sites because of kids.

    Has anybody tried these wireless headsets with mic's for operator to operator comms??
     
  6. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,544

    One point I forgot about never ever take zero tailswing for granted because you get on a machine with a conventional tailswing and you start to swing and you here this thud opps.

    When loading trucks and your backing up to the excavator and you can't see the operator usually the operator beeps the horn when the truck is close enough when the truck is full the operator of the excavator beeps the horn and you take off.

    Another thing is the excavator operator will hold the boom up in the air with a full bucket of dirt where he wants you to back the truck up he will dump the bucket into the box which means stop your in the right spot.

    When your running a backhoe around a excavator say removing the material you time is so you grab a scoop while the excavator is digging out the hole.

    When you working on a site with a excavator and say your the truck driver or what have you and you want the operators attention you thow a rock or a stick etc infront of the machine. Or a another way is stand at a safe to the cab side of the machine till the operator notices you.

    Running excavators or backhoes we wear ear plugs or muffs and the radio is turned up so we can hear it with the plugs or muffs on. Myself I can't wear ear plugs they don't fit and bother my ears so I wear muffs I was wearing Peltor H7s but they caused me to zone out so I switched to H31s 22 db rating where the H7s 27 db. I never had the problems of zoning out with the H7s before but when your sitting in a machine you are not moving around like falling trees etc.

    Hearing protection is one thing I'am fussy about I always have muffs in my truck my H7s and H31s. I also only buy Peltor brand ear protection.
     
  7. qps

    qps LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indy
    Posts: 1,484


    Nice...Squizz...love the mini ex....got to go look at the kx161...what did that set you back...the cat 304 came in at 50k u.s. with all the goodies I wanted on it...
     
  8. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 837

    Tim, the 161-3 with Cab, A/C and 3 buckets hit 70K Aus in 2003.

    Demoing a 301.8 on Tues
     
  9. vntgrcr

    vntgrcr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    i just bought a 161 2 weeks ago in NH and paid 53.5K with the one 24" bucket, AC, radio, angle blade, etc. Really shopped around and it seemed to be the going price in this area. Awesome machine, the CAT salesman didn't like the fact that I was looking at the orange machine. I Demo'd a 305 which is comparable to the 161, not the 304 and the Kubota did everything just a little better with more amenities. Good luck
     
  10. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 837

    The Cat salesman knows we have an orange machine and he's pulling out all stops to sell me some more yellow:) .

    I have been in other 5 1/2 tonne machines which seem to work a bit harder but I don't think they get the job done any more efficiently. Kubota appears to not over-crank the hydraulics so what we are looking at is longevity. A good operator will keep up one who pounds the crappers out of a machine, and keep years of life in the stick.

    Our 161 works hard on limestone on a regular basis but we really look after it. It gets greased twice a day everyday and the head/hitch get greased hourly with the breaker. Its 2 years old and has bugger all wear.

    All I keep hearing is how much a breaker will wreck a machine blah blah blah...and I have seen plenty that are shot to pieces. I think this is more due to the lazy asred blimp sitting in the cab that wont get out and grease the machine regularly. A careful approach to breaking is also required....but whatever turns your crank..:rolleyes: Breakers are hard on hydraulic hoses and piping.
     

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