Health and safety issues relating to construction excavators and their attachments

David J. Edwards, Gary D. Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - In striving to minimise downtime and optimise the productivity of construction excavators, very often, they employ a "quick-hitch" (Qh) as a means of changing attachments (like buckets) more quickly. Health and safety issues can relate to Qh use. The purpose of this paper is to observe these health and safety issues and consider their implications for stakeholders. Design/methodology/approach - Triangulation, embracing a literature review; case studies; and the researchers' experiential knowledge, is employed to examine the nature and prevalence of Qh health and safety incidents. Findings - It is confirmed that significant risks are associated with (inappropriate) Qh use, especially relating to "manual" and "semi-automatic" types. The main causes of Qh incidents are observed to be due to workers' acts or omissions, particularly, failure to properly implement safety mechanisms. Practical implications - An identified emphasis on "people" and their actions, suggest a need for changes in construction working methods and management practice, as ways to help remove Qh risks. Accordingly, proffered solutions relate predominantly to improved worker training, combined with stricter site management. Mechanical solutions may involve possible changes to Qh design. Originality/value - This specific area of academic plant management study is novel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-335
Number of pages15
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Construction industry
  • General management
  • Health and safety
  • Machine tools
  • Mechanical engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • General Business,Management and Accounting


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