One of a heavy equipment operator’s most important responsibilities is the machine inspection. Inspections not only ensure the operator’s own safety but also the safety of everyone else on your jobsite. In addition, a walkaround keeps machines in good working condition so you can meet production goals and deadlines.

When an operator finds a fluid leak, a loose hose fitting or some other problem before a failure, you can avoid injuries, minimize downtime, and save time and money. That’s a lot of added value for a process that only takes a few minutes.

To conduct a walkaround, encourage your operators to refer to each machine’s Operation & Maintenance Manual for diagrams and information. However, operators spend so much time with equipment that they know it better than anyone—almost intuitively. That’s why they should also engage their senses of sight, smell, sound and touch to reveal clues about the status of a machine.

Follow these quick tips for inspections:

  • Check the machine before beginning a shift and again at the end of a shift

  • Make sure to conduct the inspection the same direction every time

  • If anything is different on the machine from the way it was at the start of the day, pass that information along to the next operator and place this detail on the shift report

Technology can also bring value to walkarounds. Using Cat® simulators as part of an overall training program is an excellent way to develop operator skills. These simulators include a machine walkaround featuring dozens of fault points to train and test operators before they run the actual equipment.

Watch Caterpillar Maintenance Instructor Jeff Payne take you through the basics of how to perform an effective walkaround.

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