Safe Excavation Practices: Navigating Technical Challenges for Excavator Operators on Soft Terrain and Urban Settings

When operating in marshes or riverbanks, operators should first use the excavator bucket to test the ground’s load-bearing capacity to prevent the excavator from sinking into the mud. Despite the increased ground contact area of the tracked design, the risk of sinking into the mud remains. To avoid this, it’s recommended to minimize the time spent at the same location and to primarily move in straight lines, reducing the need for turning.

If the excavator does sink into the mud, it’s advised not to hastily try to escape using climbing methods, as this may worsen the situation. Solutions include: 1) If not deeply sunk, try to excavate the mud between the tracks; 2) Assess the depth of the mud, and if it’s not too deep, try to dig out the mud in front to create a path; 3) If the mud is very deep, placing iron or foundation plates under the tracks can help escape.

In urban environments, special attention must be paid to underground pipelines when operating excavators. Due to the complexity of underground networks and the lack of accurate diagrams, operators should remain vigilant. Based on experience, pipelines usually run parallel to roads, located in the roadbed or green belts, and are identified by manhole covers. There are various types of underground pipelines, including deeper rainwater and sewage pipes, and shallower water, gas, and electrical and communication lines. Water, electricity, and gas pipelines are particularly dangerous, and damaging military defense cables can have serious consequences.

During pipeline burial operations, sand is typically used first to protect the pipelines and compact the sides. Therefore, when excavators operate in urban areas, if they suddenly encounter pure sand or a sudden change in soil quality, it likely indicates the presence of nearby pipelines. For fragile materials like corrugated or PVC pipes, manual cleaning should be used.

Additionally, attention should be paid to overhead wires. When operating an excavator, be cautious of the arm cylinder possibly touching overhead wires. Light contact with insulated wires is not problematic; however, contact with uninsulated wires should be avoided to prevent breakage or cylinder damage. If the cylinder shaft is electrically damaged, it should not be retracted immediately to avoid damaging the seals, but should be polished with fine sandpaper or a specialized tool. For high-voltage wires, a safe distance should be maintained.

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