The skid steer is one of the most valuable pieces of machinery in your fleet because of its nearly limitless versatility. Because of its size and design, the skid steer can be used in several different environments where larger pieces of equipment could not fit. Used for construction, demolition, mining, landscaping, road maintenance, and more, when you know how to properly use this machine, it will benefit you, your crew, and business in more ways than one. Consider a few of these Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety practices in order to use your skid steer to its fullest potential while keeping all of your equipment and personal safe. If you operate a skid steer or work around one, follow these nine skid steer safety tips to try to minimize hazardous situations.
Skid Steer Safety Tips
- Read, understand, and follow the operator’s manual before using the skid steer.
- Always lower the bucket or attachment so it is flat on the ground before exiting. Don’t attempt to activate the skid-steer loader’s controls from outside the operator’s compartment.
- Do not leave the operator’s seat while the engine is on. Remain properly seated with the seat belt or seat bar in place before activating the controls.
- Keep all body parts inside the cab while operating.
- Never modify or disable the skid steer’s safety systems, nor operate modified or malfunctioning equipment. Have it repaired or replaced immediately.
- Never permit riders on the skid steer loader, in the bucket or attachment. Also, don’t permit riders in the operator’s compartment unless it is specifically designed for a second rider.
- Keep bystanders a safe distance away from the work area. Be aware of their location at all times. If they leave your site, cease all operations until they have been located.
- Conduct pre-operational inspections to ensure all safety systems function properly each day. Also, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance and inspection schedules as detailed in the operator’s manual.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining the skid steer. Never attempt maintenance or other work with raised lift arms or attachments without using an approved support device. Replace protective guards and shields after repairs or service.
Remember, all personnel should be trained on how to inspect, use, maintain, or repair a skid steer before operating the machine. Also, supervisors should be trained to recognize unsafe practices, such as exiting the machine with the lift arm raised.