Grader Safety Tips

Job sites are, by nature, potentially hazardous to people and property, especially when there’s heavy machinery and moving equipment – including motor graders – operating on site. Unfortunately, accidents can happen.

Types of job site accidents

People on the ground or alighting from vehicles can be struck by the mouldboard, blade or grader itself, or crushed between the machine and an immovable object.

Graders can collide with dump trucks, excavators, concrete mixers or other heavy-duty vehicles, machines and equipment typically used in road works or on construction sites.

Contact with exposed power lines or electrical wiring can result in electrocution and associated second- or third-degree burns.

Poor operating techniques may cause a grader to tip over, injuring or crushing the operator or others in the immediate vicinity.

Although not all accidents can be anticipated and prevented, there are ways to maximise motor grader safety on the job site – before, during and after operation.

Motor grader safety tips: before operation

It’s essential to inspect a motor grader and the surrounding area properly to ensure that the machine can be operated safely.

Every employer may require a slightly different inspection process, but certain, basic steps are always recommended. We offer this printable motor grader inspection checklist as an example of key steps for an operator to take.

As part of a structured inspection process, check that all the components, operator controls and safety features are functioning as they should. If you detect any abnormalities, avoid using the machine until it has been repaired by someone suitably qualified and verified as safe to operate.

Spend some time evaluating the work area, taking the types of surfaces, clearances and weight limitations into account. Assess exactly how to get the grader to the job site, and whether there are any potential hazards to consider en route.

Clear the cab of any debris, and make sure the windows are free of dirt and dust. It’s vital to have an unimpaired view of your surroundings, to the back, sides and front.

Ensure you are seated comfortably, securely belted in and wearing the appropriate safety gear, as advised by your employer.

Start the machine, and move the blade up and down, and left to right, and listen for any unusual vibrations or noises. These could alert you to possible defects.

Top tips for safe motor grader operation  

It’s important to be fully alert and aware of other vehicles, people, surface conditions and overhead power lines when operating any heavy machinery.

Drive at a slow, safe speed with the hazard lights on, especially in high traffic areas. Always use flashing lights and red flags attached to the mouldboard when grading.

Reduce speed and keep the grader in gear when travelling over rough, uneven terrain, or on grades and hills.

Avoid turning on a slope, when the vehicle is potentially unstable, and always double-check the area behind you, including your blind spots, before reversing the vehicle.

Best practice motor grader safety: after operation

Once a grading job is complete, park the motor grader on a level surface and engage the hand brake. When parking on a slight incline or decline is unavoidable, block each wheel securely.

Centre and lower the blade to the ground, lock it in place and remove the key from the ignition. Finally, perform any post-operation inspection steps required at your work site.

KH Plant rebuilds 140G, 140K and 140H Caterpillar motor graders with safety, operability and longevity in mind. Call us on +27 83 274 4882 or contact us online. We offer comprehensive after-sales support and attractive warranties on all our reconditioned graders.

Contact us for more information