First and foremost, it should be understood that excavation in general can be a dangerous business and operating heavy equipment is a skill.

For that reason, we at Watsons Excavations wish to remind anybody that intends to use heavy equipment to clear or dig a site ready to make it ready for construction of the risks of hiring an untrained excavator.

We have seen people taking these risks and sometimes they can be fatal. 

There are two types of hire, quaintly called ‘wet’ and ‘dry’. Wet is when the equipment comes along with an operator.

As the operator works for the equipment hire company, you can be sure he or she has a VOC- Verification of Competency, that they have undergone the correct training and are competent to use that machinery.

This should be a given for anyone hiring an excavator on the Sunshine Coast.

The ‘dry’ type of hire is when you order only the machinery and supply your own operator.

If you are diligent enough you will check that the person has the correct licenses and a valid VOC.

What you do not want to do is let some cowboy operator loose with such heavy machinery.

Risks to Avoid


Assuming that you already have had a site risk assessment done, these are the things that your excavator operator should be aware of and look at out for:

  • Ground conditions. If the ground is too wet, it may lead to sliding of equipment or the collapsing of channels and trenches. Heavy rain may present too much risk.
  • Do not exceed the load capacity of the equipment. All heavy machinery has its limits. To go over those limits can overbalance the excavator or make its operation unwieldy and therefore dangerous.
  • The operator must be aware of the working exclusion zone around the machine.
  • Take great care if there are underground power cables on the site. Their location should be marked, and the operator made aware of them.
  • Do not work in a place that is enclosed without proper ventilation. Fumes from the equipment can affect the operator and other workers.
  • Make sure that equipment’s engine is switched off while refuelling. Motor fuel dropped on a hot engine can cause fires. Spillages can also cause slippery surfaces.

Do not Take Risks


There you have it, just a few pointers to the risks you may incur if you do not hire qualified excavator operators on your site.

Apart from dangers to workers and others, you may lay yourself open to litigation.

Play it safe and hire qualified professionals. Call us here at Watsons Excavations for your next project using an excavator on the Sunshine Coast.