Harmful Common Excavator Accidents & Prevention In 2023?

common excavator accidents


Common excavator accidents can occur at your site. When you use any construction equipment on your work site, it is always recommended to take safety measures. Most sites that neglect safety measures, face harsh accidents resulting in injuries or deaths on the site. Such an unsafe environment can bring your profession into the news and hence destroy your good reputation across different industries. 

However, if you are a beginner, it can be almost difficult for you to recognize possible risks and threats. You might not be able to figure out the common excavator accidents, how to prevent them, and what further actions you can take.

This article is all about common excavator accidents and how you can prevent them to ensure the safest worksite. Continue reading. 

OSHA Reports On Common Excavator Accidents 

OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Thorough records of construction accidents and fatalities in the American workforce are kept by OSHA. OSHA reported 98 incidents with excavators between the years 2015 and 2020. Of these incidents 45 percent were fatal.

Even if the accident caused by the excavator is not fatal. It would have still resulted in serious injuries or disability if protective equipment had not been used. These are reports from the years 2015 and 2020. 

excavator bucket

Yearly Report Of Excavators Accidents 

Data collected by OSHA between 2015 and 2020 it has been reported that the year 2017 had the highest number of work-related excavator incidents. While in the year 2020, it is reported that a minimum of incidents happened over this year.

Renewed emphasis on the safety of construction sites is the reason for the reduction of incidents caused by excavators.OSHA Construction focus training includes caught in, struck by, falls, and electrocution.

You can see in the chart below incidents decreased after the year 2017. 

accidents due to machine operators

Common Accidents Caused By Excavators 

The major accident caused by excavators is classified into multiple types. After struck-in accidents, caught-in/between also known as Crushed/pinned is the second most common accident caused by excavators. Both Struck and caught-in ties with OSHA fatal four, In the chart below you, will know accidents caused by struck-by and caught-in.

CPWR also known as the Center for project workers’ rights has information about incidents on construction sites. CPWR discusses how to prevent fatal injuries related to between/caught-in incidents. CPWR is now the center for construction research and training.

Some types of accidents are following

  • Excavator falling or roll-over, where the excavator rolls, falls off a surface, or tips over when someone is trapped in the excavator
  • Falling from the excavator, when the excavator slips or falls off when someone is on the excavator and falls off the excavator.
  • When you are run over by the excavator, It can be fatal.
  • Falling debris where the excavator is demolishing trees buildings etc,
  • Electrocution happens when live power makes contact with the excavator
common excavator accidents

Examples Of Accidents Caused By Excavators 

Let’s take an example of a rollover in an excavator tipped over when traveling up a steep hill. There was an accident in 2001 where the excavator rolled over due to a steep hill. The operator successfully jumped off but the excavator fell on another employee causing death.

OSHA accident report in 2021 discusses the death of an operator. His death was due to the fall of the massive tree upon the cabin crushing it. 

Electrocution incidents can take place in many ways for example in 2007 an excavator was moving an iron pipe of 20’’ but accidentally come close to 14,400 volts C-phase overhead powerlines. As the employee touched the pipe he was killed when the arc occurred.

Excavator Accidents Causes 

Some of the causes of accidents are given below:

  • Lack of operating knowledge
  • Unauthorized operator. 
  • Unsuitable work site for an excavator
  • Lack of proper planning for first-aid.
  • Low-quality excavators are purchased from low-quality manufacturers.
common excavator accidents

How To Prevent Excavator Accidents? 

Some most important ways to prevent excavator accidents are given below:

  • Train your excavator operators to drive excavators even for heavy jobs
  • Make sure the excavator & other heavy machinery is suitable for your worksite. For example, you should never use a wheeled excavator on high slopes surfaces. 
  • Train your staff for the first-aid process. 
  • Keep safety equipment & first aid equipment at your worksite. 
  • The excavator’s activities should be monitored when the operator is running it to prevent construction site accidents. 
  • Make sure you purchase your excavator from a reliable manufacturer to prevent accidents. 

What To Do If Accident Happens At Worksite? 

If you take proper safety measures then there will be no accidents at your worksite. However, the situation becomes the opposite sometimes and you have to face hard challenges. These challenges can be due to accidents and injuries or deaths caused by heavy equipment. In such a situation, it can be hard for a person to determine what should do next. 

accidents occur due to exceeding load capacities

The accidents at your worksites should be handled properly to avoid any further damage to the site and the people working there. Some most common things that you can do if an accident happens at your worksite, are explained below. Make sure you follow them properly to save lives and further injuries. 

Clear The Area

Clearing the area is the first and most important thing to do at the location of the accident. It can help several construction workers to evacuate safely. Moreover, even if there are few people buried under the debris and structure, they can be saved at the right time. This is how you can save people just after an accident at a particular construction site. 

Moreover, you can also take the help of heavy equipment to help you clear out the area. These types of equipment can include excavators, bulldozers, backhoe loaders, backhoes, and much more. 

Since we are talking about accidents due to excavators, there is also the possibility that an excavator falls on people. In such a situation, there are more chances of fatal injuries or deaths. Make sure you move the excavator as soon as possible through external help. 

assesment of accident

Perform Assessment Of Accidents

Once an excavator accident happens, you should place a warning board surrounding the area. It will make sure that no other people can reach the affected place for the sake of their own safety. You should perform an assessment in terms of why the accident happened. This may include assessing several possible factors. 

The assessment factors can be:

  • Did the excavator operator get enough training to drive excavators on heavy jobs? 
  • Was the worksite suitable for to use of a particular excavator? 
  • Was there any problem with the excavator itself? 
  • Were there necessary safety precautions taken by the operator and worksite staff? 
  • Did the operator use attachments such as excavator buckets in the right way?

Assessing all these questions can help you perform the assessment of the accident that occurred at your worksite. 

Administer First Aid

Once you move the operator or all the affected people to a safe place, it is important to give them first aid. According to experts, you should always keep a first aid box and first aid team at your worksite. It will always help to prevent deaths and fatal injuries if treated well on the time. In case, you don’t have a first aid administration system, just call an ambulance. 

You should move your injured staff to the main hospital as soon as possible. Make sure you follow the instructions given at your worksite to help injured people. Experts suggest that equipment operators at your work site should be given proper training in first aid. In case of an emergency, the trained staff can be helpful to save someone’s life. 

excavator accident emergency aid

Immediately Call For Help

You should immediately call for help if you are not able to deal with injured people by yourself. Sometimes, excavator accidents occur at locations where people are not allowed to wander. In such a situation, if an accident occurs, it can be hard for someone to call for help. You should keep an eye on all the activities at your worksite so that you can immediately call for help.  

Check For Live Wires

When an excavator accident happens at a site, it can be due to several reasons. The result may occur due to falling or wrong driving of the excavator. It may also occur due to current writes present in the excavator. There have also been reported a case before by OSHA. In such a situation, you should try to check for live wires by wearing safety gloves. 

Contact The Equipment Supplier

Once you have dealt with the whole situation, you should contact the excavator manufacturer. If there was any problem with the excavator, then the manufacturer is responsible for that accident. Make sure you discuss with him to sort out the whole issue. Take help from the attorney-client relationship.

mini excavator cooperation


Excavator accidents occurring at your worksite are something that you should never ignore. You should immediately deal with such kind of situations before any major loss occurs. The first step to preventing these accidents is to purchase the right high-quality equipment for your worksite. If you are looking for a reliable and responsible manufacturer, Contact Us now.

We are the leading manufacturers of excavators with years of experience. Surely, we provide the safety guide as much as we can. Also, the basic operation and maintenance guide will also be there. Come to join us now.

Related Products

Welcome to Contact Us

We’d love to hear from you! Send us a message using the form below now.

Welcome to Contact Us

We’d love to hear from you! Send us a message using the form opposite, or email us.

hixen mini excavator welcome

Ask For A Quote

Please fill in this form. Your information and message are both important to us.  We will reply to you within 8 working hours.