Digging with the grapple
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Thread: Digging with the grapple

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    GTT Vendor Artillian's Avatar
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    Digging with the grapple

    We recently got a local fellow set up with a grapple got his 1025r. He later called up and told me a story that got me thinking. It seems he was using one of the modules on the fork frame to dig up a small tree. No big news there. But he got so focused on the task that he forgot about a drain pipe that was passing through the area. Needless to say, during one of the plunges into the soil, up came this big pipe out of the ground. Yikes!

    That story made me stop and think, what if those were electrical wires or a gas pipe?

    As a result, we've just started adding a new warning label. For those who already have these products, please keep this in mind or get on touch and we'll send you some of these decals to add on.

    Furthermore, this situation made me think a little further. It's surprising that manufacturers don't mention this potential hazard on things like backhoes, at least that I can recall. Maybe it is just considered to be common sense....? Famous last words.
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    Last edited by Artillian; 04-19-2016 at 06:22 AM.
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    Thoughtful gesture

    Quote Originally Posted by Artillian View Post
    We recently got a local fellow set up with a grapple got his 1025r. He later called up and told me a story that got me thinking. It seems he was using one of the modules on the fork frame to dig up a small tree. No big news there. But he got so focused on the task that he forgot about a drain pipe that was passing through the area. Needless to say, during one of the plunges into the soil, up came this big pipe out of the ground. Yikes!

    That story made me stop and think, what if those were electrical wires or a gas pipe?

    As a result, we've just started adding a new warning label. For those who already have these products, please keep this in mind or get on touch and we'll send you some of these decals to add on.

    Furthermore, this situation made me think a little further. It's surprising that manufacturers don't mention this potential hazard on things like backhoes, at least that I can recall. Maybe it is just considered to be common sense....? Famous last words.
    That's a very thoughtful gesture and hopefully one that will keep somebody out of trouble. Unfortunately, I doubt any warning label is read after the first time and we all think we know it all, until the s- - - hits the fan. You are doing what you can but this stuff has some inherent dangers. Somebody in the thread on PTOs made a great point. When we are rested, not rushed and thinking straight being safe is not too hard. It's when we are tired, a little dehydrated and in a rush to finish that's when stupid jumps up and bites us. That's where things like checklists, great habits and always doing it the right way can save us. If you always call Miss Utility before digging, you probably won't dig up that underground line with 4,000 volts. You might still hit the 220 going to the garage but not the high voltage one. If you never get off the tractor with the PTO turning, you won't get wrapped up in it. I meet with lots of farmers and farmer's widows that made just one error. Missing fingers, arms and lives are the result.

    I'm just as guilty as anyone else as I tractor part time. I'll rush to the farm full of thoughts of what I want/need to get done and jump on a piece of equipment. I need to do a walk around, check the fluids etc. to get my mind off of my paying job and onto how I should run the equipment safely. Maybe I should add reading the stickers again to the list. Wouldn't take long and might be a good reminder to drill it into my thick skull.

    Treefarmer
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    If I am unfamiliar with an area, I make them call Mrs. Utility first. My step son wanted 14 post holes in the ground to install a fence around his house. I told him to call them. Good thing, right where he wanted a corner post was the main gas line coming into the house. We dug that one by hand away from the pipe.
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    You should always call before digging.

    Call811


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    I was on a jobsite (elementary school) working in a boiler room. A contractor was digging up an old fuel tank.

    From the paint on the ground it appeared that the utilities had been marked.

    All of a sudden I got a strong smell of gas...... Looked outside and the backhoe operator was looking down into the hole.... he had hit the gas main to the school.

    I told the tech working with me to get to the principals office and evacuate the school without pulling the fire alarm while I shutdown the main feeding the school.

    Even when the utilities are marked, stuff happens!

    I've had our place marked three times now. I have taken pictures and measurements each time to have as a reference, but before I dig around the house, I still call.
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    Need another decal

    Call 1-800 your-self, Dummy

    I was using the grapple doing property work and removing some small saplings. Yup, pulled up the drain pine for the laundry to the dry well. $11 for splicing material and 1/2 hour later back in business.

    Then just to complete the weekend I was removing an old loose rock retaining wall and up pops a drain from one of the rain gutter down spouts. This will be redone later.

    The sad part is I was the one who installed both pipes back 35 years ago. I do however know exactly where all utilities are and stay away from them.


    Steve
    Last edited by Deere Ol Man; 04-26-2016 at 07:32 AM.
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    GTT Vendor Artillian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deere Ol Man View Post
    Call 1-800 your-self, Dummy

    I was using the grapple doing property work and removing some small saplings. Yup, pulled up the drain pine for the laundry to the dry well. $11 for splicing material and 1/2 hour later back in business.

    Then just to complete the weekend I was removing an old loose rock retaining wall and up pops a drain from one of the rain gutter down spouts. This will be redone later.

    The sad part is I was the one who installed both pipes back 35 years ago. I do however know exactly where all utilities are and stay away from them.


    Steve
    Thanks again for sharing your story, Steve. It just might save someone's life someday!
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    Try to make an effort to at least have a general idea of where your utilities are. If I'm not home when the 811 guys come, they mark our gas line on the wrong side of the driveway.
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    My JD loaders have warning stickers about overhead wires, but not digging. Number 6
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    Stuff happens

    If it makes you feel any better, I had a friend who was an excavation contractor among other things. He told two stories on himself. He was pretty careful about getting utilities marked because it was so danged expensive if you didn't. So, anyway he always got them marked.

    One time he was digging with either a backhoe or track excavator and up comes a section of fiber optic cable. No ground marks, not upright marks no nothing showing it was there. It turns out that fiber optic doesn't just break where you hit it. The stress took it out for about a quarter mile each way. Oops, it wasn't his fault. Miss Utility said it wasn't there.

    The second time he hit an underground high voltage line. Again, no marks and nothing to indicate it was there. The arc coming off the bucket was the first indication there was a problem. All he could do was sit in the cab until the power company shut it off as he only nicked the cable and didn't break it. He didn't want to fully cut it but a full repair was necessary anyway due to the arc.

    Sadly after many years of working in all conditions and on all kinds of heavy machinery he was killed when a tree fell on his excavator. A totally freak gust of wind blew the tree while he was moving the excavator and it crushed the cab. Calm before, calm after - just one heavy gust of wind and he was gone.

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