Excavator operators periodically need to change buckets during the course of a construction project. “Quick Coupler” devices were developed so that operators can easily change buckets while seated in the excavator cab. Before the development of the quick coupler, operators had to leave the cab and perform a time consuming manual process of removing the existing bucket and replacing it with a new one.
The quick coupler is located on the end of the excavator arm, and enables the excavator operator to change buckets quickly without leaving the cab. Quick couplers save time and money, and became extremely popular when they were introduced in the mid 1980’s. Many companies manufacture and sell quick couplers, including excavator manufacturers who sell them for use with their own excavators (e.g. Caterpillar and Volvo), and after market manufacturers. Various couplers are similar in fundamental design but vary in important respects.
The proliferation of quick couplers unfortunately has resulted in large numbers of accidents causing serious injury and death when buckets accidentally detach from the excavator. If the quick coupler does not fully engage the new bucket, the bucket can accidentally detach and cause catastrophic injuries and/or death to workers below. Also, once the bucket is engaged, it can become loose in the event of a hydraulic failure.
Because of the weight and shape of the buckets, accidental detachment poses an enormous risk of severe injury. Even simple human error has catastrophic consequences.
Schultz Law has extensive knowledge and experience in cases involving quick coupler accidents.