Operating any type of large construction equipment poses numerous safety risks. From runovers to entrapments, skid steer loaders can both harm operators and other people in the vicinity if not used properly. To preserve your safety and the safety of those around you, make sure to implement these tips on how to safely operate a skid steer.
Use the Appropriate Tracks for Your Application
Depending on your application, there are many different types of skid steer tracks to choose from. Selecting the right type of track for the terrain that you will use your skid steer on is essential for preventing avoidable safety hazards. For example, operating your skid steer on soft, slick terrain, such as mud or snow, without tracks that offer ample traction will increase your risk of sliding and losing control of the machine. To avoid such a dangerous scenario, make sure to take the time to select the right type of tracks for your application.
Perform Regular Inspections and Maintenance
Another tip on how to safely operate a skid steer is to perform regular inspections and maintenance. Without frequent inspections, small issues can go unnoticed and turn into larger problems over time. In some cases, mechanical issues can threaten the safety of the operator.
To ensure that the skid steer operates properly, make sure to conduct an inspection after each use. In addition to inspections, you should also adhere to a thorough maintenance schedule in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations to prevent issues from occurring in the first place.
Follow Safe Lifting Protocol
Many skid steer accidents occur due to improper lifting practices. When using your skid steer to lift a heavy load, make sure to operate the lift and bucket controls smoothly. Avoid jerky or fast motions while dumping a loaded bucket as doing so can cause the contents to fly up and hit the machine or others in the area.
Another important safety tip for lifting a load using a skid steer is to know the limits of your machine and your attachment. Overloading your skid steer can cause it to become unstable or out of balance which increases its potential for rolling over. As such, you should always check the capacity label, data plate, or operator’s manual for the maximum load limit of your machine.
Stay Away From Steep Edges
Another one of the most common causes of skid steer-related injuries and deaths is operating the machine too close to an edge. When operating a skid steer next to a steep edge, there is a potential that you could fall over the edge or that the bank could cave in. As such, you should always steer clear of steep edges on ramps, ditches, retaining walls, loading docks, trenches, and other areas when possible.