Action Inspectors should ask the following questions when assessing the safe management of QH use: Whether the safety pins are inserted where appropriate. The safety pin cannot be inserted unless the latch is in its fully closed position. See Appendix 4 for details of QHs and thorough examinations. Non-manual systems use a hydraulic ram to move the latch to retain the bucket.
The advantage of dedicated systems is that the original radius of bucket movement can be maintained by compensating for the thickness of the QH, thus keeping the same break out force as the manufacturer intended. In addition, a significant investment in dedicated buckets and attachments is required. The disadvantage is less flexibility because only dedicated buckets can be used. The safety pin cannot be inserted unless the latch is in its fully closed position. An excavator operator may change the bucket on his excavator up to 30 times a day in order to maximise the machine productivity. Although faster than the conventional method of bucket change, this method is relatively slow and cannot be done from the excavator cab. Quick hitch systems The QH systems on the market can be manual or non-manual. Semi-automatic systems Appendix 2 photo 1 require the operator to leave his cab after he has operated the QH latch to insert a retaining pin in the hitch as additional security. There are known to be 20 or more manufacturers on the market, most of whom have several different designs of QH. See Appendix 4 for details of QHs and thorough examinations. See Appendix 3 for detailed reasons why this may be the case. Ask site supervision if the QHs on the excavators under their control require a manual safety pin they should know Is the risk of bucket detachment covered by their risk assessment? Although incidents have occurred with automatic QHs, accident statistics suggest that the majority of incidents occur on semi-automatic systems where a manual safety pin should be inserted, but where the operator failed to do so. Large attachments such as rammers may prevent the locked condition being verified from the cab, in which case, the driver needs to get out of his cab to check the locked condition. Then inspectors should request involvement of their local SG mechanical specialist. Can the operator explain the type of QH system they have do they know whether it needs a safety pin or not? A significant number of all accidents investigated on excavators are attributed to the bucket detaching from a QH and injuring a ground worker, most of which are fatal and major injuries. Introduction The purpose of this guidance is to address key issues that inspectors should wish to consider during relevant inspections and gives guidance on instances where enforcement may be appropriate. In addition to evidence of training in operating the excavator, have excavator operators been trained in the use of their QHs, and, where appropriate, in the use of the excavator as a crane? However, there may be many more dangerous occurrences that occur that might not be reported when a bucket detaches unintentionally from the hitch, but without injury because no one is underneath at the time. Organisation No special visits or other organisational requirements are involved. Does the operator know that, for all types of QH, they should test the security of the bucket after changing it? See Appendix 1 for recommended enforcement action and Appendix 2 for photographs of what to expect. If the pin is missing, try looking behind the driver's seat! Automatic systems should have a method where the operator can verify that the hitch is locked from the cab — for example, locking pins may protrude from the side of the hitch when the latch is in its unlocked state.
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