Safety is essential to any heavy equipment operation. Training programs stress operation safety for a reason—heavy equipment can be seriously harmful or potentially deadly if operated incorrectly.
If you’re new to a bulldozer machine, one of the most important things to learn is safety. This can help you operate a bulldozer correctly while keeping you, others, and the construction site safe. Be a successful operator— read on to learn top bulldozer safety tips.
Bulldozers: What You Need to Know
Bulldozers, also called dozers, are powerful machines that are used in construction. They are primarily used to push or move soil or rocks, and consist of a broad steel plate mounted on the front of a tractor. The position of the blade indicates what it is being used for. If it is held below surface level, the bulldozer is being used for digging; for transporting, it is at surface level; and when spreading material or soil, the blade is held above the surface level and works in conjunction with the forward-moving tractor.
Operating a large piece of machinery may seem daunting, but it isn’t too difficult. Here are the steps to operate it:
– Turn On the Engine. Much like a car, you turn on the engine by putting the key in the ignition and turning it. After it has turned on, wait a while for the oil to lubricate the engine.
– Turn the Speed Control Down. This is located on the left joystick.
Turn the Throttle to “Run.” The throttle controls the engine’s power, so the speed needs to be low to increase it to “full.”
– Use the Left Joystick to Drive. The left joystick controls driving: move it forward to move forward, and backward to reverse.
– Test Individual Controls. Make sure all controls in the cabin are working before moving.
– Stop Movement by Depressing Accelerator. The accelerator determines when you “go.”
– Use the Right-Hand Joystick to Control Functions. The right joystick controls the blade and ripper, the parts that do the digging and carrying.
Some of the most important bulldozer operating tips are those that come before putting the dozer into action. These are preventive measures to minimize the risk of accidents and ensure safety:
– Wear a Seatbelt. Even though bulldozers barely go as fast as bicycles, you still need to wear a seatbelt. Bulldozers can topple over, and wearing a seatbelt can keep you safe in the instance of this happening.
– No Passengers. Dozers only have one seat and one seatbelt, making it extremely dangerous for another person to be in the cab with the operator.
– Follow Proper Lockout, Blockout, and Tagout Procedures. These practices help keep the site safe by ensuring that only an authorized person turns on/off the equipment.
– Check Oil and Coolant Levels. This is to make sure that the dozer will operate properly the whole time you are using it.
These bulldozer operating techniques will create an environment conducive to productivity and safety:
– Work In the Slot. To increase blade load capabilities and prevent material from falling off the blade, work in the slot.
– Doze From Front to Back. Dozing from front to back will maximize productivity and decrease undercarriage wear.
– Use Short Cuts. It might seem that working in long cuts will get more done, but this can actually cause dirt to fall off the blade and leave more work for you to do. Plus, they waste fuel and wear out the undercarriage and track slip. Use short cuts to save energy and time.
– Stay Away From Overhead Power Lines & Water Mains. This is to ensure that the dozer doesn’t get caught on anything or accidentally swings on anything.
Last in proper dozer operation are the top 3 things to do when you’re shutting it down for the day:
– Lock It Up. Lock the machine as an extra safety precaution.
– Park on Ground Level. This will help avoid the dozer from toppling over or rolling away (it can happen).
– Lower the Blade. Lower the blade and any attachments, then shut off the engine.
Interested in learning more about how to operate a dozer? Check out the Heavy Equipment Colleges of America. We offer a wide range of heavy equipment training programs—from dozers to cranes— that can prepare you for an exciting heavy equipment career in as few as three weeks.
Contact us today to get started!