Don't use the side of a backhoe-loader bucket to push material back into an excavation, say backhoe manufacturers. Backfilling using the swing circuit and dragging the bucket sideways can damage the dipperstick, boom, swing cylinders or mainframe of the machine.

Yet, backhoe-loader operators commonly use this technique, especially when backfilling trenches. After all, the soil being pushed back into the trench is loose rather than packed, and it appears that no harm is being done to the backhoe-loader.

Should operators, then, disregard the manufacturers' warnings against backfilling with the side of the bucket? Not entirely. This backfilling practice could indeed cause damage to the backhoe-loader if the operator isn't careful. However, by using common sense and following three basic rules, operators can backfill safely and efficiently using the side of the bucket.