Operating a Backhoe
Backhoes are one of the most popular and widely-used earthmoving machines available due to their adaptability, attachments and their range of sizes to suit most jobs from large industrial projects to backyard garden renovations.
If you are going to use a backhoe for a project, there is a choice of hiring or buying, with hiring obviously being the ideal option if earthmoving projects are not your primary business due to the sheer expense of buying a backhoe. Hiring a backhoe is a relatively straightforward process with most hiring companies offering complete safety training or a qualified operator with your hire.
If you chose to operate the backhoe yourself there are several procedures that you will follow for maximum control and safety of the backhoe. These start with a pre-inspection, in use safety procedures, shut- down safety procedures and a post inspection of the equipment.
Safety attachments and procedures of a standard backhoe include:
- Frame lock levers
- Safety chains
- Grease all fittings every 8 hours
- check the loader's hydraulic-fluid level daily
- Complete a exterior pre-inspection for leaks, excessive wear, loose parts, and cracks
- Complete engine inspection
- Complete interior inspection as with exterior inspection
- Select the right bucket size for the job
- Flag out the project area and a safety zone that people cannot cross
- Check for any overhead obstructions
- Check all water and gas authorities for any underground piping or restrictions in your area
- When leaving the backhoe, turn off engine and take keys with you
- Complete a post-inspection of the equipment and engine
For a visual demonstration of backhoe safety procedures:
Using the Controls of a Backhoe
Generally speaking, there will be two different controls with the cab of a backhoe, one on the left and one on the right hand side.
Both controls will be able to move and control in all four directions with the left side controlling the boom while the right is for the dipper-stick and bucket.
The basic operations are as follows:
Left: pull towards you and boom comes up
Left: Push control away and boom goes down
Right: Push left and boom swings left
Right: Push right and boom swings right
Dipper Stick Controls
Right: Pull right hand lever towards you and the dipper-stick comes towards you
Right: Push it away and dipper-stick goes up
Right: Push left and the bucket curls, i.e. for scooping up
Right: Push to the right and the bucket extends out, i.e. for emptying
Don't forget to park the backhoe flat ground with the loader and backhoe buckets on the ground when you are done. Also relieve hydraulic pressure by working the controls before turning the backhoe off.
Of course, when considering how to operate a backhoe there is more to it than simply pushing the controls with safety procedures and operating practice being on major importance in the excavation industry.
For a visual demonstration of how to control a backhoe: