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Watching A Backhoe Tickle Concrete Slabs

If you have read earlier posts you will know that I take a real interest in any heavy equipment that I see when traveling around. Today I was fascinated watching a backhoe move large concrete slabs into place. The whole process is a regular part of the job and only took an hour or so to complete – but it was still fascinating.

A backhoe is not a huge machine yet, for its size it can pack a punch. If I have a criticism of what I saw today it would be that the operator did more than the machine was really capable off. The concrete slab obviously weighed more than the recommended lifting capacity of the backhoe – the back wheels kept lifting of the ground as it tried to carry the slab. No problems – they simply loaded the bucket with rocks to act as a counterweight. Not a safe practice but a novel approach to the problem.

Carrying the slab was not a safe practice, however, the real interest to me came once the slab was close to being in place. Using the bucket, the operator was able to carefully nudge that concrete slab into place. It was like watching a child nudge a block against other blocks – a little nudge on the left, a nudge on the right, a final nudge at the back to slot it home. When I say nudges, they were very gentle nudges.

They put three of these large slabs into place – why they didn’t pour them in place I don’t know but I guess they had their reasons. That operator had probably had a few years experience yet a good backhoe operator training program would have produced similar results. Operating a backhoe is not as difficult as some people imagine – especially if you’re trained by a seasoned professional.

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