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Best Practices

Quick Coupler Safety

Quick couplers are employed on most jobsites. Reduce the risk of damage and injury on the job by using quick couplers responsibly and safely. The following tips will help you take the appropriate measures when using quick couplers for your equipment attachments.

Proper Precautions

Train your operators
All operators and supervisors need to be thoroughly trained in how to use quick coupler systems. Before using them, make sure that operators know how to visually inspect quick couplers, how to engage attachments, and how to test and evaluate connections. Training goes a long way in preventing accidents.

Install warning labels
Most quick coupler and excavator manufacturers provide labels warning operators not to use couplers without a safety pin. Place these labels in the cab and on the dipper arm where operators can clearly see them. Be sure to check the labels periodically and replace them if they become damaged or unreadable.

Use only approved attachments
Do not use any attachments that exceed the limits determined by the manufacturer of the coupler or the excavator. Some manufacturers do not approve using couplers with breakers and other types of attachments. If you’re uncertain about whether it can be used with a particular attachment, contact the manufacturer of the coupler.

Use newer equipment
If you’re using older models of quick couplers, upgrading to a newer system can help avoid accidents. Newer models of quick couplers are designed specifically to prevent unexpected attachment releases. You can also install retrofits.

Coupler Maintenance

Visual inspections
Visually inspect quick couplers before each use to ensure that both the safety pin is in the correct position and that the couplers will not release attachments accidentally. Some coupler systems require the operator to inspect the safety pin manually, while fully automated systems may allow an operator to confirm with a visual inspection from the cab that the safety pin is in position.

Preventive maintenance
Routine maintenance is essential for safely operating quick couplers and can prevent wear and deterioration. Follow the manufacturer’s preventive maintenance schedule strictly to ensure safe operation.

Addressing Safety for Quick Couplers

Be careful when changing attachments
Bucket changing, attachment testing, and other high risk activities should be performed in clearly defined areas. An operator must verify that the safety pin is in place before lifting the quick coupler. Once an attachment is secured, and checked, shake the quick coupler vigorously to make sure the connection with the coupler is secure.

Safe removal
Removing the quick coupler from the dipper while a bucket or attachment is connected can damage both the attachment and coupler. For a safe removal, first lower the coupler onto a structure at level height. Then, turn the machine off, and release all hydraulic pressure. Immediately after removal plug the quick coupler hoses and pipe work of the machine to prevent contamination. Clean all dirt and debris from the quick coupler’s operating mechanism before placing it in storage.

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