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You may be the Grader Operator but does everyone know your safety standards!

Maintaining awareness of people, other machines, and obstacles is important to safe motor grader operation. Operators of small and mid-size Motor Graders also face the challenge of safe operation in traffic, given that the machines are often driven to the work site. Also, in snow removal operations, a road open to traffic is the work site.  They are usually designed to maintain our gravel roads, Operational safety means staying alert.

The primary sources of injury to operators and other personnel working around heavy equipment are:

  • Repairing and servicing equipment in dangerous positions.
  • Striking individuals or other vehicles with the equipment, particularly its blade.
  • Unexpected violent tipping of the equipment.
  • Uncontrolled traffic within or through the work area.
  • Unexpected violent shocks or jars to the machine.
  • Sudden movement of a power unit while it is being attached to earth moving equipment.
  • Leaving earth moving or other equipment in dangerous positions while unattended.
  • Failure of lifting mechanisms.

General Operating Precautions:

  1. Machines should be maintained in good working order.  All vital parts such as motors, chassis, blades, bladeholders, tracks, drives, hydraulic and pneumatic mechanisms, and transmissions should be thoroughly inspected each day.
  2. Before starting a job, the operator should be given instructions regarding the work to be done.
  3. Before using the starting motor, the operator should check to make sure that all operating controls are in the neutral position.
  4. Machines should be operated at speeds and in a manner consistent with conditions on the particular job.
  5. If possible, equipment should be driven entirely off the road at night.  When any portion of the machine projects into the road, it should be adequately marked with red lights or flares.  Red flags should be used in daytime.
  6. Personnel should stop motors and refrain from smoking during refueling operations.

And before you do this type of work  It only takes a brief distraction to cause injury or equipment damage. Please remember these safety tips while operating your motor grader:

  1. Read the operator’s manual.
  2. Always perform a pre-trip inspection.
  3. Clean windows, lights, etc. and any debris from floor of grader.
  4. Do not let anyone ride along (inside or outside).
  5. Look, then check again, before backing up. 6. Drive at a slow speed in congested areas. 7. Give the right-of-way to loaded vehicles.
  6. Watch for overhead dangers.
  7. Know your work area: check weight limitations, types of surfaces, and clearances.
  8. Report defective equipment immediately.
  9. Stay focused on the job.
  10. Select a safe parking area.
  11. Wear hardhats and seatbelts.
  12. Wear safety gloves and appropriate safety gear.
  13. Remove ignition key when leaving grader.
  14. Ground the blade when leaving grader unattended.
  15. Use colored flags at each end of moldboard when blading.
  16. Shift blade to center and lock it when parking.
  17. Be aware that boarding and exiting grader may put you in danger of slipping, tripping or falling. Use a three-point (two feet and one hand or one foot and two hands) approach when entering or exiting the cab.
  18. Communicate with traffic: • Use flashing safety lights when blading. • Keep headlights on whenever operating.
  19. Be alert to traffic waiting to pass, and provide the driving public passing opportunities.
  20. Use signing and proper flaggers to warn traffic of work in progress.
  21. Be sure your signs and locations conform to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (

Terry Penney

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