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Safety should always be top priority when operating heavy machinery, and this is especially true for chain trenchers. Not only can their misuse lead to severe injury or death, but the area around them may also have potential risks that must not be overlooked. It’s essential to take all necessary safety precautions before beginning work with a chain trencher in order to protect yourself, your colleagues and the environment. In this blog post, we will discuss how to identify and address these dangers so that you can use your trencher safely and with confidence.

What is a chain trencher?

A chain trencher is an excavating machine that digs trenches into the ground and can be used in various applications such as laying electrical cables, water pipes, fibre-optic lines and drainage systems. It consists of a wheeled tractor with a long cutting bar powered by a motor at its front. The bar is made up of chains with sharp cutting teeth that are able to dig into the ground and create a trench.

Common chain trencher hazards:

  • Cave-ins or collapses that can bury a worker.
  • Electrocution if the trench is dug near power lines or other underground utilities.
  • Inhalation of toxic fumes or harmful gases if proper ventilation is not ensured.
  • If not controlled properly, the chain trencher can overturn or collide with other objects and cause serious injury or death.
  • The sound of the motor is loud and cause hearing damage.
  • The climate can affect the machine’s performance and make it difficult to operate.
  • Flying dust or soil can be hazardous for workers and bystanders.

Wear Appropriate Protective Gear When Operating a Chain Trencher

One key aspect of staying safe while using a chain trencher is to wear appropriate protective gear. This can include things like:

  • A hard hat
  • Safety glasses
  • Sturdy work boots
  • Work gloves
  • Hearing protection such as earplugs or earmuffs

Safety guidelines for using chain trenchers:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the machine’s controls before use and never operate it alone.
  2. Before using the chain trencher, conduct a thorough inspection to make sure that all components are functioning properly and no damage has occurred.
  3. Wear all necessary safety gear and ensure you are not wearing any loose clothing or jewellery.
  4. Make sure that all bystanders are at least 16 metres away from the machine while it is in use.
  5. Remove any objects from the work area that may cause an obstruction or present a safety hazard.
  6. Keep your hands and feet away from any moving parts.
  7. Always make sure that the trencher is on level ground and clear of any obstacles before starting it up.
  8. Use caution when operating close to buried power lines or other obstructions.
  9. Maintain proper posture during operation. Sitting with your back straight, shoulders relaxed, and feet flat on the ground can reduce strain on your back and neck, allowing you to work for longer periods without discomfort.

By following the guidelines laid out here you can operate your trencher safely and confidently, allowing you to enjoy your work without compromising on safety.

Looking for Safety Documentation on Chain Trenchers?

Check out our chain trencher SWMS!

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