Common Safety Mistakes When Using One-Man and Two-Man Augers

A power auger, whether one-man or two-man, may be the fastest route between you and a hole in the ground.



A power auger, whether one-man or two-man, may be the fastest route between you and a hole in the ground that needs drilling. But a mistake when using one doesn’t augur well for your health.  

Perhaps the biggest blunder is failing to call 811 ahead of time (at least two days) to check for buried utilities. In 2016, 11 people were killed from hitting underground utility lines.

The auger has enough torque to throw the operator off balance if it hits a root, rock or other obstruction.If you anticipate hitting any obstructions, cut the speed to ensure a more rapid release of the centrifugal clutch. Keep yourself braced in case kickback happens. Also, don’t drill too close to a wall or other structure that kickback can throw you against.

You’ll be constantly wrestling with this powerful machine while digging. It’s a common mistake to overuse back muscles. Remember to lift and absorb shock with your legs.

Watch what you wear: Loose clothing can get caught in the spinning bit, with potentially deadly consequences. And check to make sure there is no loose material on the ground, such as landscape fabric, that can get tangled in the shaft.

Not knowing how to quickly turn off the auger can be devastating during an emergency. Familiarize yourself with all controls before starting and be ready to stop the machine in an instant.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you have a better chance of drilling the perfect hole and, more important, going home at the end of the day without injury.

Mark Hagen is a former magazine publisher and is currently a senior manager at a construction company. He enjoys writing about construction, equipment/tools and woodworking.

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