Short Guide to Daily Equipment Inspections according to Hastings Deering

Daily equipment inspections are an important aspect of owning and operating earthmoving equipment and machinery like Cat excavators, mini excavators, wheel loaders and bulldozers. Not only does the machinery you’ve invested in need to be compliant with workplace safety regulations, but you also have a duty of care to your employees and must consider your business’s ability to provide high-quality services to your customer base.

Courtesy of Hastings Deering

As the underlying success of any construction business is inextricably linked to the reliability of its equipment, the machines your business is reliant on must be in top condition. After all, equipment breakdowns and downtime that cripple productivity cost your business money.

  • Increase Employee Safety: Daily walkarounds lower the inherent on-site risks of working with heavy machinery. Looking at Queensland work-related injury fatalities by occupation, machinery operators and drivers had the second-highest fatality rate in 2018 after agriculture, forestry and fishing workers. This highlights the importance of on-site health and safety measures, making equipment inspections and preventative maintenance essential.

In addition to your duty of care responsibilities to your employees, there’s also the financial aspect of workplace injuries to consider, including lost work time, restaffing costs, workplace compensation claims, higher insurance premiums, WHS fines and potential lawsuits.

  • Lower Ownership Costs: As heavy machinery requires significant financial investment, it’s imperative that you protect your investment in high-quality machinery and boost returns on investment (ROI) with daily inspections and scheduled preventative maintenance. When machinery breaks down and needs repairs, it increases the overall cost of ownership, chips away at your ROI and business profits, and reduces your operational cost-effectiveness.
    To increase the lifespan of your equipment and deliver high returns on investment for your business, implement daily inspection walkaround requirements for all machine operators and service equipment at scheduled intervals and immediately when issues are identified.

  • Reduce Downtime: Damaged or malfunctioning equipment, especially when it results in downtime, directly affects worksite productivity and impedes your team’s ability to meet your schedule and deadlines. This not only affects your business bottom line by increasing project costs, it can also spell disaster for your business reputation, potentially resulting in perceived unreliability that reduces client confidence and leads to less repeat business.

How to Inspect a Wheel Loader —  Daily Walkaround Inspection

Before starting your machine, perform a walkaround inspection to ensure there’s no visible damage and it’s ready to operate. Below we’ve outlined the daily walkaround inspection for a Cat wheel loader.

External Inspection

  • Check transmission fluid level

  • Centre articulation area: Look for wear in the driveline area

  • Hoses and couplings: Ensure all fittings are tight and there are no leaks

  • Tyres: Check inflation pressure (front tyres need more pressure than rear tyres), damage to tyres and rims, and lug nuts

  • Lift arms: Look for wear in pan areas, leaks in tubes and lines, loose fittings and hose clamps

  • Cylinder rod: Look for scratches and wear on the tilt rod

  • Bucket or attachment: Look for unusual wear patterns or cracked welds

Engine Compartment Inspection

  • Engine enclosure screens: Look for damage and debris

  • Engine compartment: Check for leaks and debris

  • Check fuel filter and hydraulic oil filter

  • Engine oil: Check for correct level and possible contamination

  • Check air cleaner service indicator

  • Coolant level and coolers: Check the fuel cooler, hydraulic oil cooler, charge air cooler and hydraulic coil filter for debris and leaks

  • Heat exchanger: Ensure fins aren’t bent

  • Fan enclosure and fan motor: Look for leaks and damaged fan blades

  • Check radiator and fuel cap

  • Turbo and exhaust manifold: Look for signs of exhaust leaks

  • Drive (V) belt: Check for correct tension and look for cracks

  • Inspect air intake hoses

Once you’ve checked the exterior and engine of your Cat loader, inspect the operator cab, checking the fuel level and indicator lights and, if necessary, clean the exterior and interior mirrors and window glass to ensure full visibility.

Follow the above daily walkaround checklist with all the earthmoving equipment in your fleet, allowing for machinery differences where relevant. For example, before starting a Cat mini excavator, ensure the tracks are free of large debris which could damage the machine. Also, check the immediate environment before starting your machine to ensure no people, tools or equipment are in the way of your machine and that you can proceed to the worksite safely.

Regular Equipment Servicing

Along with daily walkaround inspections, it’s imperative to service earthmoving equipment and heavy machinery like loaders and excavators regularly. Preventative maintenance is an important investment in safety, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and productivity, which are the cornerstones of a successful business reliant on quality machinery to get the job done right.

As the official Cat dealer for Queensland and the Northern Territory, Hastings Deering offers a broad range of flexible preventative maintenance support options to suit the needs of your business and protect your investment in quality Cat equipment. Book a Cat service with genuine Cat parts today or contact your local Hastings Deering branch for further information on our preventative maintenance options, including field servicing and workshop servicing.

Source: Hastings Deering'
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