Ensuring Safety When Working With High Reach Equipment

High reach excavator on demolition site

The use of high reach demolition equipment is necessary in a number of demolition projects. As with any demolition equipment, it's important to understand the proper procedures and risks involved, however. All equipment can be potentially hazardous and lead to serious injury when not used correctly. Before ever getting into a machine, the necessary experience, competencies, and certifications should all be in place. Here are a few additional areas we address before implementing the use of high reach demolition equipment to ensure safety.

Is High Reach Demolition Necessary?

Too often, high reach excavators are brought in before they're absolutely necessary. Typically, if other equipment or demolition processes can do the job, they should. Risk increases as the size of the building and the size of the equipment increases, so to minimize risk, the large machines should be a last resort. High Reach equipment is only necessary if the height of the work is only accessible through a high reach machine, it has enough room on site to operate, there's an exclusion zone where debris can fall safely, and the proximity to other buildings, and the collapse risk of the structure being demolished have all been assessed.

Safe Working Reach

Just because the work is within the maximum reach of the equipment being used doesn't mean it's the right equipment for the job. The safe working reach refers to the height and extension of the machine that's considered safe for a particular job. Accurately calculating the safe working reach depends on each project and work site. It could be as much as 20-percent less than the maximum reach, depending on factors like ground and structure stability, and the amount of space available for the equipment to work in.

Choose the right attachment

High reach equipment is versatile due to the variety of tool attachments they can carry. However, heavier tools aren't safeĀ for all high reach equipment. Attachments should first be matched to the equipment being used, then to the structure and nature of the work being done. The attachment should be capable of crushing, cracking or shearing as intended, and also have enough power and a large enough opening to do the job. While one machine may be able to safely reach the location of the work, it may not be able to safely carry a tool large enough to finish it.

Assess ground conditions

The ground conditions at a site may prevent large equipment from being effective, or safe. Before bringing machines on site, a ground investigation report needs to be collected by an engineer on the project. Site slabs, ground make up, water table level, voids, basements and other potential hazards all need to be identified and planned for. If the ground is determined to be suitable enough for equipment, proper insurance must also be in place before work begins.These are only the initial concerns and considerations that need to be addressed when using large machines on a demolition site.To learn more about the safety procedures we use, and our demolition capabilities, call us at 918-379-0966.