Quick hitch

In 2009, as part of our ongoing drive to create an Injury-Free Environment on our sites, Skanska banned the use of all semi-automatic and automatic excavator quick hitches which do not lock onto both pins. This standard has subsequently been endorsed by UKCG (now Build UK) and taken up by other member organisations.

What was the problem?

Following an incident on one of our sites, an investigation showed that the direct cause was a bucket becoming detached from an excavator and striking an operative.

What did we do?

Following the incident, we engaged in extensive consultation with our plant and equipment supply chain to pursue the development of new and inherently safer equipment. The result of this consultation was that all semi-automatic and automatic excavator hitches, which do not lock onto both pins, were banned. Only fully automatic double locking quick hitches, or manual quick hitched for machines below 5te, are now permitted on Skanska projects.

In addition, the following controls were implemented:

  • Both front and rear pins of the attachment must be captured by locks such that if the rear lock does not engage the rear pin, or the rear pin becomes disengaged, the attachment will be retained on the quick hitch by the front lock
  • The quick hitch must have an automatic mechanical lock to prevent at least one of the pins from becoming disengaged due to hydraulic failure
  • The operator must be able to visually confirm from the cab the correct engagement of the hook and mechanical back-up lock
  • Pin and back-up locks may only be disengaged when the attachment is in the crowded position
  • Audible warnings must be present in the cab whenever the lock is in the release position
  • Operators are required to complete formal training in the use of quick hitches
  • On site checklist to ensure compliance on delivery of new plant

What was the outcome?

A significant reduction in the risk of excavator buckets becoming detached during operation and therefore a significant reduction in the risk of serious and life-threatening injuries.

Subsequent update by Skanska’s peers has resulted in a risk reduction in the industry as a whole, not just on Skanska projects.


Last updated: 23/01/2017