Suggestions For Skid-Steer Safety

This article will address hazards associated with skid-steer machines include runovers and entrapments.
Suggestions For Skid-Steer Safety - Articles
Suggestions For Skid-Steer Safety

Hazards associated with skid-steer machines include runovers and entrapments. Runovers happen to operators who fall out of the machine while operating it; workers on the ground that are assisting the skid-steer operator; riders in buckets; and bystanders. Riders in buckets and bystanders are often young children.

Entrapment hazards often occur to operators who try to maneuver controls and levers from outside the skid-steer's protective frame, or from miscommunications between operators and helpers. Many hands, arms, feet and legs are mangled and amputated from crushing injuries that occur when the lift arms or bucket moves unexpectedly. Deaths due to crushing injuries have also occurred.

Other hazards include hydraulic system failure; lack of visibility immediately around the machine; slips and falls from improper mounting and dismounting; and being crushed by falling objects.

By following the Suggestions for Skid-Steers in this brochure an overwhelming majority of skid-steer related injury and fatality incidents can be avoided.

Pay attention to the basics

  • Keep protective structures in place.
  • Wear seat belt or use restraint bar.
  • Use 3-pt. method for mounting and dismounting.
  • Never exceed Skid-Steer's operating capacity.
  • Lower bucket to park safely.

Regularly check

  • Controls and levers for safe operation.
  • Safety start devices.
  • Bucket and attachment locking/hooking points.
  • Tire condition - smooth tires can pose a hazard.

No riders anywhere

  • Even a toddler inside the cab will interfere with controls and vision.
  • Buckets don't have shock absorbers: children and adults can easily bounce out.

If you need to leave the seat

  • Lower the arms and stop the engine.
  • If this can't be done, then lock the lift arms with the mechanical lockout system.

Keep track of shifting balance

  1. A loaded bucket shifts weight to the front axle from the rear axle.
  2. Move Skid-Steer with heavy end facing up hill.
  3. Keep bucket level as lift arms are moved or as loader moves up and down slope.

Know your field of vision

  • The arms, bucket and size of load alter your field of vision.
  • Learn all the blind spots.
  • Small children often can't be seen at all!
  • Consider rear view mirrors and/or back-up cameras to eliminate blind

Operate only from operator's seat

  • Keep all body parts in cab.
  • Keep bystanders at a safe distance.

Stay alert to moving parts

  • Never swing, lift, or move a load over anyone.
  • Know the pinch points and avoid them!
  • Inadvertent bumping of controls can result in instant lowering of lift arms.

When traveling

  • Keep the bucket low. If vision is blocked, travel backwards.
  • Slow travel keeps the machine under control.
  • If you must travel on roads, an effective slow moving vehicle (SMV) emblem, flashing warning lights, and an escort vehicle are critical.

*Mirrors and cameras are available for skidsteers.

When using the bucket

  • Secure bulky loads which can fall from the bucket.
  • Don't overload: know the bucket's limits!
  • Operate lift and bucket controls smoothly.
  • Do not dump a lifted, loaded bucket during jerky or fast speeds.

Hazards associated with skid-steer machines include runovers and entrapments. Runovers happen to operators who fall out of the machine while operating it; workers on the ground that are assisting the skid-steer operator; riders in buckets; and bystanders. Riders in buckets and bystanders are often young children.

Entrapment hazards often occur to operators who try to maneuver controls and levers from outside the skid-steer's protective frame, or from miscommunications between operators and helpers. Many hands, arms, feet and legs are mangled and amputated from crushing injuries that occur when the lift arms or bucket moves unexpectedly. Deaths due to crushing injuries have also occurred.

Other hazards include hydraulic system failure; lack of visibility immediately around the machine; slips and falls from improper mounting and dismounting; and being crushed by falling objects.

By following the Suggestions for Skid-Steers in this article, a large majority of skid-steer related injury and fatality incidents can be avoided.