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Safe Use of Attachments on Mobile Plant Equipment

22nd January 2018

As the UK's largest independent provider of equipment operator and instructor training courses, Mentor are committed to supporting the drive for zero harm and promoting industry safety campaigns by providing guidance on best practice. 

The continuing efficiency drive and broadening job requirements has seen mobile plant fleets become diverse in application. This change has been facilitated through equipment evolution and the development of multiple equipment attachments. Whilst this is a welcomed solution by the industry and operators, new attachments fundamentally change the equipment application and its operational methods. 

Mentor are reminding businesses to be vigilant and committed to training individuals appropriately. When selecting an item of plant with multiple attachments, consider the following:

Is the equipment / attachment right for the job? 
Changing of an attachment on mobile plant equipment can, on occasions, be time consuming and because of this, shortcuts are taken. To save time, operators use the incorrect attachments for the job increasing the risk of accidents, damage to the equipment and the loads. Always ensure the attachment is appropriate for the equipment and task required and seek expert advice from a manufacturer or attachment specialist.

Does the type of load effect the usability of the attachment? 
Consider how the type of attachment and load will affect the stability of the machine, and the breaking distances. All too often operatives do not consider the impact an attachment change will have on the usability and safety considerations of the machine. 

It is also essential to ensure that a qualified operative on site can identify what materials will prove unsafe when used with the attachment in question. An attachment that may compact a certain material may be deemed safe, however the attachment carrying out the same task but on different materials, such as plastic may cause an accident on site as the compaction could cause the materials to shatter and spray sharp fragments or with wood, cause the material to splinter.

Are Quick Hitches safe? 
Where an attachment change is required to complete the job, those in control of the work should ensure adequate precautions are in place. This should include: 

  • Operators should be trained in the correct use of the attachment, where there is an accredited testing standard this should be utilised, in the instance that this is not available, manufacturer training or training against a SSoW is vital 
  • Operators should be competent in the act of changing the attachment, using the specific type of quick hitch on the equipment 
  • Operators should ensure that they only use the safety pins and bars that are designed for that attachment when using a manual quick hitch 
  • Those that are managing the site should ensure that all safety devices are in operation at all times when the equipment is in use 

It is imperative that managers and supervisors on site remember to include all attachment processes in the risk assessments and SSoW documents are necessary for the required equipment. 

For more information on the safe use of attachments, contact us today on 01246 386900 


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