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Health and safety issues relating to construction excavators and their attachments

By David J. Edwards and Gary David Holt


Purpose – In striving to minimise downtime and optimise the productivity of construction excavators, very often, they employ a “quick-hitch” (Qh) as a means of changing attachments (like buckets) more quickly. Health and safety issues can relate to Qh use. The purpose of this paper is to observe these health and safety issues and consider their implications for stakeholders. Design/methodology/approach – Triangulation, embracing a literature review; case studies; and the researchers' experiential knowledge, is employed to examine the nature and prevalence of Qh health and safety incidents. Findings – It is confirmed that significant risks are associated with (inappropriate) Qh use, especially relating to “manual” and “semi-automatic” types. The main causes of Qh incidents are observed to be due to workers' acts or omissions, particularly, failure to properly implement safety mechanisms. Practical implications – An identified emphasis on “people” and their actions, suggest a need for changes in construction working methods and management practice, as ways to help remove Qh risks. Accordingly, proffered solutions relate predominantly to improved worker training, combined with stricter site management. Mechanical solutions may involve possible changes to Qh design. Originality/value – This specific area of academic plant management study is novel

Topics: H200
Publisher: Emerald
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1108/09699980810886838
OAI identifier:
Provided by: CLoK
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