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Driver Authorisation: Safety Notice – Quick Hitch

A quick hitch on an excavator is a latching device that enables attachments to be connected to the dipper arm of the plant and changed quickly.  Quick hitches are in common use throughout the construction industry and, when properly designed, maintained and used can save a great deal of time when working with excavators.  They allow operators to quickly use plant for a wider range of tools than just buckets, such as mechanical diggers and piling drills. [Reference: HSE website]

At a recent training weekend a small excavator was hired in with a quick hitch for changing the bucket. In this case the excavator was supplied with a bucket on by the hire company and there had been no need to check the bucket. Halfway through thr morning it was discovered that the hitch was not locked. It is therefore critical before using the excavator that the operator makes sure the bucket is locked on correctly and the safety pin or catch is used.

Useful guidance on using quick hitches

  • Excavator operators should be adequately trained on the use of quick hitches – if you don’t know how to use it ASK!
  • Only use pins which have been designed for the machine/for that specific use.
  • It is the Operators responsibility to check that the pin is in place before starting work and every time a different attachment is fitted.

Learning Points:

  • Don’t assume the hire company have fitted the bucket properly – always check before using!
  • There are many different types of quick hitch, if you are unsure how the one fitted to your machine works, ask whoever supplied it to show you.