How to Use A Mini Digger - Correctly and Safely
How to use a mini digger: Digging in the garden, whether it's for landscaping or footings for that extension, can be a tiring and time-consuming process unless, of course, you have one of these. This is a mini digger, and you can hire them from Speedy, the UK's number one hire company.
Couple of good things to remember when hiring from speedy. All our hire equipment is checked, tested, cleaned and serviced before every hire and will all come ready to go. You will also notice a folder attached to your hire product. These are the safety and operating instructions. Please make sure you read them before you begin your job.
Before you use the digger it's really important that you wear the correct PPE, gloves, a high viz jacket, safety boots, a hard hat and eye protection are essential and any PPE you do require can be purchased from Speedy.
Speedy Top Tip! Please Watch our How To Use a Mini Digger Video below:
Mini diggers are ideal bits of kit for digging foundations for an extension, drainage pits in your garden, or maybe even a large pond or swimming pool, whatever requirement you have for moving tons of earth. This digger will make light work of it.
Like all pieces of equipment this digger is really safe to use, providing it's used correctly. On this digger there are a few really nice features that I'm going to talk you through before we jump in the cab.
This part of the machine is called the boom, connected to the end of the boom is a coupler where you can fit different attachments. Most of the attachments you'll require will be buckets like this. You can get different buckets for different tasks. This bucket is ideal for digging trenches, whereas some buckets are perfect for landscaping.
If you don't know which attachments you require, just speak to Speedy - let us know what you're doing, and we'll be happy to help.
Here we have the dozer blade. Now this can be used to keep the digger securely in position, especially when on uneven ground.
This can be raised and lowered by using a lever in the cab. You can also use this dozer blade to level off your work area by lowering it just off the ground and traveling forwards. The dozer blade also provides a great reference point when operating the machine.
When getting in and out of the digger it's really important that you maintain three points of contact with the machine. Once you're in the cab, there are two really important pieces of equipment that could prevent an accident or incident. The first is this ROPs frame and the second is your seatbelt.
Now, both of these things work hand in hand to keep you secure in your seat in the event of a rollover. Failure to use one or the other could be catastrophic. You should never operate this machine without having your seat belt secured.
If the machine does rollover, you should not attempt to jump out of your seat. Jumping out of your seat is the main cause of fatal injuries during a rollover. Instead, you should remain in your seat with the seat belt fastened braced against the levers.
Operating this machine can be really easy, but before you start the engine it's really important that you familiarise yourself with the controls on this digger. This lever here will pull down the armrest - this acts as a safety switch, meaning the machine will not move until this lever is pulled in the downward position.
These two levers in front of me are the travel levers. The left controls the left track and the right controls the right. If you push them both forwards at the same time, you will travel forwards and pulling them backwards will allow you to travel backwards and if you push one of them forwards or backwards, you will either turn left or right depending on which track the lever controls.
There are two joysticks on this digger that you will need to use in order to operate the machine but don't worry, these controls are really intuitive. The joystick on the left will control the swing of the excavator by moving it left or right. It will also move the dipper away or close by moving the joystick forwards or backwards.
The joystick on the right will control the boom up and down, as well as the position of the bucket to open or close. And this button here is the horn.
At your feet you'll find a foot pedal on the right. This pedal controls the angle of the boom in relation to the cab. Pressing it left or right will move the boom in the appropriate position. This is really useful when digging in a tight area where you might not be able to swing the cab around.
This lever here controls the engine revs. Moving it backwards is the maximum power setting. This is an ideal setting to be in when traveling, as you'll be able to move from A to B faster. However, when digging, you should have the machine and its lowest power setting, which will make the machine much easier to control.
Of course, this can be adjusted based on the material you are working with and how confident you are with the machine.
This lever controls the dozer blade. Moving it forwards will lower the dozer blade and pulling it backwards will lift it.
And finally, just like a car, this digger has an instrument panel that will tell you the fuel levels and display any warning lights.
You'll also notice a series of rocker switches. The switch controls the work lamp, this switch is a control lock off switch. Turning this on will prevent any of the controls from being responsive, and this which will turn your flashing beacon on or off.
Just like a car, you can start the machine by turning this key. You will need to turn it to the on position to begin with and then hold it in position two - wait a few seconds for the machine to warm up and then you can continue to turn to fire it up.
When using this excavator, it's really important that you stay aware of your surroundings and the terrain you are operating on. We would always advise you to keep the flashing beacon on at all times, as well as any working lights to ensure that you are visible to others on site.
If you're unsure about anything, please refer to the operator's manual that will be provided with the machine, as this will have all the information you require.
Keep everyone clear when operating this equipment and be aware of any children or pets that may be in the vicinity.
Both the dozer blade and tracks on this machine have been designed to retract to allow for easy access into tight areas. So, before you begin your job, it's really important that you extend the tracks, as this will make the machine much more stable and helps to prevent a tip over.
To do this, you will need to ensure that you're on a level hard surface. Then you'll need to elevate the machine off the ground by spinning the cab 180 degrees, lowering the bucket to lift the rear of the tracks off the ground then lower the dozer blade. This should provide clearance between the tracks and the ground.
Now, use this lever in the cab to extend the tracks from the machine. Once the tracks are out, lower the machine back to the ground and unfold the extension plates on the dozer blade, locking them into position using the locking pin.
This digger runs on standard diesel and can be refuelled by simply removing the cap here and filling it up.
No matter what excavator you end up hiring from Speedy, changing the bucket will be exactly the same. To begin with, you're going to need a lump hammer and a drift.
The first thing you're going to need to do is remove these two safety clips. This will allow you to remove the pins that secure the bucket in place. Start by taking your drift and gently tapping out both pins, starting with the lower one first.
Once both pins are removed, lift the boom up and away from the bucket. This will free the bucket, allowing you to slide it to the side and replace it with another. Once you've aligned your new bucket with the coupler, you can lower the boom back into position and then secure it with the pins, starting with the top one first.
It's really important that you don't forget to insert the safety clips before you start your next job.
If you have any issues with any of the products you hire from Speedy, just give your local Service Centre call as we're always available to help and remember to always check the safety and operating guidance before you use any hire product.
Ready for more DIY tips?
Thank you for reading our Speedy Services blog, we hope you found this how to use a mini digger guide and video useful.
For further tips and advice please visit our Skills and Projects page.
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