Daily Checks For A Hired Excavator

Prior to starting your day operating an excavator, it is essential that you complete a series of checks to ensure the machine is in a suitable working condition. Daily checks for a hired excavator are important to conduct to protect the user, the working area, and other members of staff. These checks should not take you more than a few minutes on a hired excavator, nevertheless, they should not be overlooked.

Excavators are available in a range of different sizes, depending on their operating weight. All of which are thoroughly inspected as part of your pre delivery inspection by your supplier. A pre delivery inspection checks the machine is in perfect working condition to be used. This includes greasing, oil, fluid and hydraulic levels, testing and more. However, this does not free the operator from the responsibility of conducting on-site testing when the machinery arrives.

It is best working practise to always conduct checks every time you go to use the equipment, as well as when you are finished with it. In this resource we will go over the simple daily checks you should be conducting before using a hired excavator.

Why do daily checks of a hired excavator?

Daily checks on a hired excavator are preformed to mitigate the chance that an accident can happen, as well as, ensuring the machinery works to its best ability. Excavators are extremely heavy machines that can easily cause fatal injury if involved in an accident. It is important that when you are conducting the checks that we will highlight in this resource, that you don’t rush the procedure. Take your time and be sure before operating the machinery. If you find any issues with your hired excavator, YOU MUST contact your supplier.

Operating damaged or faulty equipment increases the chance of potentially fatal accidents happening. So, before getting started with your hired excavator, it’s best to follow these daily checks.

Daily check for hired excavators before operation.

Before commencing work in a hired excavator, perform the following checks to ensure safe operation:

Check the working area

It is very important that before you check the status of the excavator, that you are fully aware of the area you are working in. This includes the ground that you are working on, if there are any hazards and if they have been identified beforehand. If you are working on a large building site, you need to make sure that you have taken all the necessary health and safety precautions. This may include fencing off the area you are working in. Be aware of any obstacles that could be deemed a hazard as well.

Mark out hazards

Now that you have identified them as hazards, you need to make sure that you correctly mark them out and can be identified from the cabin of your excavator. It is vital that you get in touch with your local council to retrieve any information of any live utilities that may be residing underneath the area you are working on. By identifying them and avoid them, you will avoid any expensive, unwanted repairs or nasty accidents.

Visual walk around checks

The first check you must do is a full visual check of the excavator, starting from the hitch, up the arm, then down the boom. Checking all the hydraulic rams that there is no obvious damage to them. This is followed by a visual check of the outside of the cabin, ensuring nothing is damaged or could cause harm while in use. Remember, any damage must be reported to your supplier. Then you want to check the machine’s tracks, hydraulic arm, and king pin. Make sure you take your time.

Checking the levels

Always check the machine’s oil levels via the engine’s dip stick, along with the hydraulic fluid. The hydraulic fluid reader will be present near the machines boom. You should ask your supplier where these are location as they are different for every manufacturer of excavator. If discover that you have a leak or have low levels, you must contact your supplier.

Cabin observations

Once you have checked your levels, we need to make sure that you can clearly see from inside the machine. Closed cab machines can get dirty during their use and can restrict visuals, therefore make sure you can see from the driving seat. If you have an open cab, you can move to the next stage.

Beacon and horn

Now you have checked the visuals from the driver’s seat, you need to be sure you can also be seen and heard. Switch the machine to ignition position one and click the beacon button. Once activated, the excavator beacon should be lit and flashing. Once satisfied that the machines beacons work correctly, proceed to check other mounted lights on the excavator. Finally, check that the horn works so you can alarm others in necessary. Once completed, turn the ignition off before moving to the next stage.

Daily greasing

One of the last daily checks of a hired excavator is to perform the daily greasing. A grease gun will be supplied when you hire an excavator. Normally found under the operator seat or in a compartment near the machine engine. You should grease all the machine nipples from the hitch, up the arm, down the boom, boom cylinder, blade cylinder (if applicable).

Once the machine is fully greased, it will now be ready to operate. Follow the below tutorial:

Safety tips for operating a hired excavator

When you hire an excavator, you take on the responsibility and safety of the machine. In short, meaning you are liable if anything bad happens to it. Most often than not, the only damage that occurs on a hired excavator is general wear and tear. However, on occasions, accidents happen. Some are more serious than others, therefore to reduce the chance of any nasty accidents happening, you bear it the following in mind:

Safety equipment

When operating any type of excavator, you should be wearing the correct PPE (personal protective equipment). This will include a Hi-Viz vest or coat so that the operator can be always seen. When operating the excavator, you must wear your seatbelt. Some models of excavator will not start if the machine’s seatbelt is not engaged.

Traversing the working area

When traversing the working area in a hired excavator, ensure that you do so carefully, and try to stick to level ground as much as possible. You should keep the excavator’s bucket low to the ground in case any issues occur during transport. Finally, Make sure that any other members of staff working on the site can clearly see you clearly. This may mean you need to switch on all operating lights in low level lighting.

Working on slopes

If you intend to work on slopes with your excavator. Always remember to not have your machines tracks parallel to the slope. This could cause the machine to flip when in operation. Avoid travelling diagonally and stick to directly up a slope, with the boom arm extended and the bucket close to the ground. This position lowers the centre of gravity of the machine, keeping it balanced when navigating slopes.


When moving in and around an excavation site in your hired digger, you should never rush when tracking. Keep your speed steady, especially on rough terrains and congested areas. Therefore, if you are required to stop for any unforeseen circumstance, then you can do so. Traversing slowly will always reduce the chance of damaging the excavator.

Bucket banging

If during operation, materials get stuck on the bucket, do not bang the machine’s bucket on the floor to clear it. This is a very common way that operators damage the machine hitch. It is best to curl the machine’s arm and boom and lay the bucket gently on the floor. From here, you will be able to safely exit the machine and clear the debris with a shovel once the machine is off.

Bucket changing station

Have a bucket changing station on your site that is designated for changing buckets only. Do not attempt to carry additional buckets on the blade of a bucket across a building site. All moving of buckets should be done by the machine hitch only. This will prevent any nasty accidents from happening or damage occurring.

Loading vehicles

No doubt that if you are using an excavator, you are going to want to move or remove an amount of earth away from the area you are working in. To do so, you are going to require a means of moving it. This could be in a dumper truck, artic, or large truck… nevertheless, it is important when loading that you do it from the rear. This will avoid any dangerous debris landing on the trucks’ cabins and potentially causing harm to others.

Avoid cave-ins

Cave-ins are very common when it comes to excavation. They are very popular when an operator is carrying out a method called trenching. Trench is a process consist of digging a narrow trench in the ground to lay utilities underneath the ground. The same process can be used for digging footings as well. If you intend to use this method, then you should ensure that your waste pile is a safe distance from the hole itself. It is important to know what soil you are dealing with prior starting work.

What to do if there is an issue?

If there is ever an issue with the equipment that hire you must contact your supplier. There are some very important reasons for this such as:

  • Faulty equipment can be a dangerous hazard on a building site.
  • A replacement excavator to be delivered when the damaged or fault unit is returned.
  • Unauthorised damaged could be charged to you instead of previous hirers.
  • Some issues can be sorted over the telephone.

Hired excavators go through a huge amount of work by many operators during their lifetime. This is a very import point to remember when choosing your supplier of equipment. Old, tired machinery is far more likely to suffer a breakdown while out on hire compared to younger equipment. When hiring any equipment, it is always best to properly vet out your supplier beforehand to ensure you get the quality of equipment that you need to get the job done.

End of day checks for hired excavators

When you have finished you working for the day in your hired excavator, you will want to make sure that is ready for the next day’s work. To do so, and to keep the machine as safe as possible during your hire, follow the end of day procedure.

1. Parking the excavator on flat ground with the bucket safely on the floor so it will not move whilst stationary.

2. Turn down the machines revs and auto idle before turning off the engine.

3. Run the machine’s engine on low revs for a few minutes before turning it completely off. This will give the machine supercharger time to cool before being shut off.

4. Close all windows, remove keys, take off seatbelt and lift left-hand arm rest to disembark the excavator safely.

5. Use three points of contact to exit the machine and lock the cabin.

Where to hire quality, low-hour excavators from?

Need an to hire an excavator between Micro and 28T’s for your project? At WHC Hire Services, we offer the highest-performance excavators on the market brought to you by two internationally leading suppliers. With regular investment and commitment to keeping our machinery low hours, we provide equipment you can rely on to get the job done. Click to see our full range of equipment, or call 01684377977 for a free quote today.

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