Equipment Safety Features That Are Worth the Investment
Equipment Safety Features That Are Worth the Investment

Equipment Safety Features
That Are Worth the Investment

Investing in technology for the sake of safety.

CAITLIN MADDOCK-BAHR | Social Media & Digital Strategy Manager


You wear work boots, a hard hat and a safety vest on the jobsite because safety is the top priority. Your Cat® mini excavator is also designed to keep you and others safe. From tip-over protection systems to push-button swing protection, these mini excavator safety features are critical to preventing accidents and keeping mistakes to a minimum.

“We invest in safety technology,” said Greg Worley, Caterpillar Senior Project Engineer.

Looking back with an integrated camera system

While a rearview mirror can help operators see behind them, mirrors break and are often not replaced. The integrated camera system on Cat mini excavators is more sophisticated than a mirror, and more reliable. The benefits of a camera for 6- to 10-ton excavators are clear, due to the size of the machines; they’re simply too big to see around without the use of a camera and monitor.

Cameras make sense for smaller mini excavators because people have become accustomed to relying on them.

“Society is relying more on cameras to see behind them than they are on mirrors or their eyes,” explained Greg.

The camera system allows for better sight lines and better detection of obstructions.

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Cat® machines won’t work without operators

The hydraulic safety interlock system installed on all Cat mini excavators is designed to prevent accidental machine operation. Your equipment won’t start unless the interlock lever is in the “up” position. Then, once the engine is running, nothing will operate on the excavator until the lever is put back down. It’s a simple safety concept but one that prevents dangerous situations involving unmanned machines. If you’ve ever accidentally kicked a control while exiting an excavator, you can appreciate the hydraulic safety interlock system.

Fluorescent seat belts stand out

It’s not a fashion statement. Cat uses 3-inch fluorescent seat belts so that supervisors and safety officers can more easily see that operators are wearing them. Cat mini excavators also come equipped with a seatbelt monitor switch that triggers a display to the in-cab monitor to remind operators when their seatbelts are not engaged. For work areas that are highly regulated, a beacon can be attached on top of the excavators to show that an operator’s seatbelt is engaged.

Swing protection made easy with Ease of Use E-fence

Cat Next Gen excavators have a swing control protection feature called E-fence. This feature can be set to prevent the boom from swinging out of the protected range, so the machine does not contact people, walls, power lines, etc. E-fence gives total zone protection, covering the circumference of the machine, below grade, above grade and at the front of it.

Being seen and heard

A worksite is a busy place. Travel alarms and backup alarms let others know when your machine is in motion. Cat mini excavators also feature safety courtesy lights on the boom and cab. There’s even a setting for lights to stay illuminated for up to 90 seconds, in case you’re working past sundown and need to walk through a site filled with potential pitfalls and debris.

Fallen tree on mini excavator

A trendsetter in safety

Cat engineers have set the pace for safety. Many of the safety features included on mini excavators were first thought of by Caterpillar and later used by competitors. One of the features you might see across the industry is flat floors with no additional steps. Cat mini excavators have always come with right-step height and grab rails that are placed in the correct spot to make it easier to get in and out of the machine.

Greg Worley notes that safety is always top of mind when they’re designing a machine.

“We do safety audits when we design a machine or design a cab,” said Greg. “And, we go through all of those safety audits to make sure we’ve done it right.”

Accidents do happen. When this tree fell on a Cat mini excavator on a jobsite, the protection baked into the design of the cabin held up and did its job. Cat canopies are ROP certified, and for good reason. Remarkably, the operator walked away from this incident completely unharmed.

Investing in technology for the sake of safety

The fewer accidents that occur on a job, the more profitable the business is. Caterpillar is constantly looking toward the future when it comes to safety features for machines. There is a focus now on developing 270-degree cameras for mini excavators to give operators even more visibility.


Greg Worley says the goal is to add as much sophistication to excavators as possible.

“We can make these machines incredibly clever,” noted Greg. “The economics have to be right for the people who are buying mini excavators. There has to be value to the customer.”

Safety doesn’t always have to mean expensive, highly developed tech. It can be as simple as a “hot” sticker displayed to prevent operator burns.

The purpose of technology is to protect workers and improve your investment. If you want to know more about the impressive safety features on Cat mini excavators, have a chat with your local Cat dealer.

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Author Photo


Social Media & Digital Strategy Manager

Caitlin Maddock-Bahr exercises her storytelling expertise as a social media and digital strategy manager. In this role, she not only helps Caterpillar connect with their audience, but helps customers connect with the brand.