New designs of quick coupler models represent some of the most significant improvements to excavators, due to their ease of operation, connection speed and engineering features that help prevent the unexpected release of attachments. Unlike gravity systems in previous coupler designs, some manufacturers’ spring-activated safety locks perform better in severe and dirty environments.

To prevent accidents related to improper use and maintenance of quick coupler attachment systems, it is important to train operators on proper maintenance and safe practices for engaging and removing attachments. Most excavator and quick coupler manufacturers provide warning decals and other instructions to alert operators not to use the coupler without a safety pin installed.

Sad recommends the following additional quick coupler safety tips:

  • Select a coupler design supported with engagement safety features, such as the following:
    • A spring-activated front safety lock designed to retain the attachment in case of improper attachment connection.
    • A secondary spring-activated rear safety lock to retain the rear attachment pin in case of hydraulic cylinder failure.
    • Pins constructed from extra-high-strength steel to increase durability.
    • A control system that provides for safe attachment engagement and release.
  • Use only attachments that are approved by the excavator and coupler manufacturers. Operators should only attach and remove attachments in a secure environment and ensure that the quick coupler is properly engaged with the attachment before operating.
  • Remove the attachment using the quick coupler safely. Operators should lower the coupler and attachment on the ground or a structure at level height. Consult manufacturers’ operation and maintenance manuals for information about proper use of the quick coupler.
  • Maintain quick couplers to prevent excessive wear. The manufacturer’s recommended preventive maintenance inspection procedures should always be followed. Regular visual inspections of the quick couplers are important to coupler safety as a means to detect changing conditions, modifications or alterations that could cause the quick coupler to provide an unsecure attachment connection. With some coupler systems, the operator will need to manually inspect the safety pin to make sure it’s correctly positioned and hasn’t developed wear issues.