Top tips for operating a mini digger

operating a mini digger

A mini digger is a popular addition to any plant fleet, and can be used for a multitude of tasks. It is efficient, versatile and easy to operate if you have the correct knowledge. Are you thinking about operating a mini digger for an upcoming construction project?

Find out more about our excavator 360 courses here at the Diggerland Plant Training School. Additionally, we have put together our top tips for anyone operating a mini digger safely on site.


A mini digger is essentially the same as a standard excavator, however is smaller in size. Don’t let the size fool you, as they are definitely an underestimated piece of plant equipment. Most mini diggers weigh anything up to 7 tonnes, and midi diggers up to 10 tonnes. Anything over this weight is considered a standard excavator.

As mentioned above, mini diggers are versatile machines that can undertake many tasks including: 

  • Digging and backfilling holes
  • Landscape work
  • Removing unwanted debris
  • Digging trenches

More often than not, construction companies opt for mini diggers over standard excavators. They can be cheaper to hire/buy, better for the environment and they are easier to transport to sites that are limited on space. 


Have you got a plan of action?

Before setting foot into the cab of any machine, it’s important to have a plan of action in place. Organising the type of work that needs to be done before the machine is in use will maximise efficiency and also save time. We would also recommend working out where you want to offload material to, having your spoil pile right next to the machine could cause issues further down the line.

Have the correct digger attachments on hand ready

In order to also maximise efficiency, we would highly recommend having the correct excavator attachments on hand, ready to use. Ensuring they are the right size for your mini digger is also something that is often overlooked!

If your mini diggers are in need of new attachments, we’ve got you covered. Our sister company, Masterhitch Europe Ltd, is the leading manufacturing company when it comes to the creation of plant accessories in the UK. Not only do they stock excavator attachments in standard sizes for excavators, bespoke attachments can also be made to suit your requirements. Get in contact with them today!

Carry out pre-checks including maintenance

It is vital that all maintenance checks are carried out before any type of machinery is used. For the health and safety of everyone on site, especially the operator, checks need to be done. Checking oil levels, coolant and lubricant, and checking for any machine damage, will save you running into any issues halfway through a project. 

It is also recommended to grease the machine every day, as well as checking the air filters every 10 hours on average and clearing any debris build up. 

Check for level ground

Not all construction sites are based on level ground, however if you can use the mini digger on an even surface it is a lot safer. When operating a mini digger, they are highly unlikely to tip over due to the weight of a machine. However it is worth checking to make sure the machine is stable.

When digging a trench, operators need to also ensure the digger isn’t located too close to the edge. Soft soil can start to crumble and cave in, leading to a potential health and safety hazard.

Pay attention to the site around

Probably the most important tip is paying attention to your surroundings. It is essential that you are aware of other operators and machines around the site. Never swing a bucket over workers, this also includes operators in a cab of a digger. Also take a look before a digger is maneuvered across the site. 

Check for any obstacles

As well as people and machinery, obstacles are something you may have to overcome on a construction site. If you’re on the edge of a site, it could be lined with overhanging tree branches, which could cause damage to the digger. Operators may also have to deal with potholes or drastic dips in the ground. Mini diggers are designed with mirrors and cameras, try to use them where possible. 

Make use of the idle function

Using the idle function on a digger will assist in saving fuel and prevent wear and tear when it comes to machine parts. If a machine isn’t in use, make sure you know where to find the idle function!

Mini digger cab
360 Excavator course (below 10 ton)


Our Excavator 360 course is available to individuals that will be operating a mini digger as well as excavators over 10 tonnes. We also have courses convenient for operators with previous experience, as well as others that may have limited to no experience.

When you book onto our NPORS N202 Excavator 360 course, you can expect a mix of physical training as well as classroom learning. Operators will cover the following:

  • The various components / controls of a mini digger as well as being able to locate them
  • Have a working knowledge of the manufacturer’s handbook
  • The type of PPE that is needed when operating a digger
  • How to enter and exit the cab of the digger safely
  • The safety checks that need to be completed before moving the digger
  • Moving the machine safely

We are happy to train individuals or groups safely, in line with government guidelines. Alternatively, our experienced instructors are happy to carry out training on private construction sites and training areas if required. 


If you’re looking for a digger ticket course in Kent, then be sure to check out our NPORS N202 Excavator 360 course. 

Unfortunately we are fully booked for the remainder of July, however we do have upcoming dates for August. Book onto our course running on 2nd – 6th or 23rd – 27th August and get ready for operating a mini digger. Hurry though as we do have limited spaces available!

We also have a variety of our NPOR courses in Kent including:

  • Dumper truck courses
  • Roller courses
  • Health and Safety courses
  • Backhoe loader courses
  • Plus plenty of other construction related courses

Be sure to check out our full list of NPORS training courses on our website!

Get in touch today

Give our team a call today on 01634 295355 or email us to find out about our course availability.