Common Issues With Construction Equipment

Common Issues With Construction Equipment
  • Opening Intro -

    Construction is one of the industries most prone to accidents.

    These accidents come in many forms, from falls to electrocutions to being struck by falling objects.


One common cause of accidents stems from the heavy equipment used on a site. Heavy equipment accidents are serious, often fatal, and one of the most common causes is malfunctions.

Knowing the more common issues with construction equipment can help your employees recognize when something is going wrong so they can take evasive action.

Hydraulic Motor Seal Leaks

Many major pieces of construction equipment utilize hydraulic motors, from bulldozers, cranes, scissor lifts, and brick-molding machines. Because of this, it’s likely your employees will encounter a hydraulic motor fluid leak. This is especially true if you’re doing construction in a cold climate where plummeting temperatures can crack rubber seals.

Fluid leaks are serious scenarios for your equipment and your employees, potentially leading to machine damage and hydraulic fluid injection. If you notice a leak, avoid touching the wet material with your bare hands.

As a temporary measure, you can use a plasticizer to stop the leak. However, you must replace the broken seal for the long term.

Fluid Contamination

Hydraulic fluids aren’t the only ones in heavy machinery. Fuel, oil, and coolants also exist in construction equipment and are necessary to keep the equipment functional.

When dust, water, or other contaminants enter these fluids, it can cause machine failure. Preventing this begins with proper storage of the materials and regular replacement of the filters.

Tire and Track Trouble

Tire issues are another common construction equipment issue in the winter. This includes tires with worn tread, cracked rubber, or incorrect air pressure.

Whatever the size of your fleet, tire inspections should be done daily, especially in cold weather. Pay attention to the 50 percent tread line available on construction tires and avoid driving on under- or over-inflated tires.

Employees should still perform daily inspections for equipment that uses tracks instead of tires. Because tracks are also made with rubber, it’s important to be vigilant for cracks along the surface.

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Additionally, be mindful of the tracks’ tension. Loose tracks are difficult to navigate on; continuing to drive on them can lead to undue wear and tear.

Battery Maintenance

Equipment utilizing batteries, such as electric forklifts, requires time and attention to work properly. This is especially true in the winter. A forklift with a malfunctioning battery will not work properly and may cause employees injury if the electrolyte fluid inside spills. This is why proper battery maintenance is crucial.

Employees should check battery fluids weekly and only water the batteries after charging has completed and the batteries have cooled down. Along with proper watering, regularly cleaning the batteries is essential for them to function properly. Otherwise, residue can build up on the connectors, rendering the batteries useless.

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