Safety Safety Guidance

Guidance on the use of Excavator quick hitches

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Published in December 2012

A quickhitch is a latch device designed to facilitate the efficient connection and removal of attachments (such as buckets, grapples and rock breakers) to plant and equipment. It is often affixed to the end of the dipper arm of an excavator, as a means of enabling different types and sizes of excavator bucket (for example) to be changed at will.

According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures, 13% of all accidents investigated on excavators are attributed to the bucket detaching from a quick hitch and injuring a ground worker. The HSE believe quick hitch failures are relatively common and incidents are frequently major and sometimes fatal. This guidance provides descriptions of the different hitch devices, the common reasons for failure and safety checks.