New stability field tests for construction excavators

David J. Edwards, Gary D. Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The extensive use of mini-excavators in construction presents a significant health and safety risk from their tendency to become unstable, or in the extreme to roll-over, under certain working conditions. No standard exists to specifically assess excavator stability, so the purpose of this paper is to document the development and trial of a series of practical field tests designed to achieve this. Design/methodology/approach - Tests were designed in collaboration with a group of plant experts and competent operators. The tests were subsequently trialled by applying them to four mini-excavators, the aim being to see if these plant items could be reliably assessed in terms of their stability characteristics. Results of the study were presented to Hamp;S experts for comment. Findings - The tests were able to assess mini-excavator stability. For each machine, five "stability criteria" were scored thereby producing an overall score, by which mini-excavator stability could be conveniently represented. Research implications - No previous field test research has been identified in this area. The results produced here may go some way towards developing an international standard for on-site stability tests. Practical implications - The tests are easy to apply at the work site so long as performed by competent persons under appropriately risk-assessed and risk controlled conditions; and if disseminated to industry, could act as a means of standardising mini-excavator stability tests until such time an International Standard becomes available. Originality/value - Research in this area is entirely novel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-352
Number of pages16
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Construction equipment
  • Excavating
  • Health and safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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