Preventing Injuries From Skid Steer Loaders

The skid steer loaders are among the most useful and effective machines at construction sites. They are used for performing different kinds of construction jobs, from lifting materials to digging holes. But like any heavy machine, there are always risks of injuries involved when using steer loaders. The improper handling of a skid loader can put a construction worker at risk of being injured. In fact, skid steer loaders have been major source of numerous accidents over the years. Therefore, extra attention should be paid on the safety procedures when using skid steer loaders in order to avoid accidents that can result in serious injuries or even death.


The most common types of reported accidents involving skid loaders are: rollover accidents, crushed by moving parts, tipping over, being thrown from the loader and many other. Newer skid steer loader models are equipped with various safety features such as control interlocks, rollover protective structures and operator restrains, side screens. Many skid loaders have interlocked control system, which prevents any unintentional control activation. This system includes a safety device like a seat belt or restraint bar. This way the worker is safely seated in the cabin, away from the moving arms of the machine. The skid steer loaders also have rollover protective structures and operator restrains (or seat belts), which keep the worker in a safe position in a case of a rollover accident.

However, not all skid loaders have such safety mechanisms. If you are working with skid steer loader, the following preventive procedures and measures should be followed in order to protect yourself and the others around you:

  • Never leave the seat when moving arms of the loader are raised. Over the past years many accidents have been reported when the workers leave the machine while the moving arms are still raised.
  • Always keep the restrain system in a good working condition. This system keeps loader operator from being thrown away from the cabin, especially when the loader is moving through rough terrain, like rocky road.
  • Always keep the loader controls clean from mud, dirt, snow or ice. The controls can go out of function if they are not maintained properly.
  • Properly maintained and functional attachments should be used, especially when lifting and carrying heavy materials and objects.
  • Drive slowly in slippery areas and when large and heavy materials are being lifted.
  • Only one person can operate the loader. Make sure there is only one worker in the loader cabin. Also very important, never use the bucket or other attachments as a platform to carry people.
  • Periodical service and maintenance is necessary for keeping the loader in good working condition and to prevent any hydraulic leaks that can result in serious defects and failures.

The skid steer loaders should always be operated by an experienced workers, not by young workers who lack the necessary mental and physical skills which are needed in some unexpected and dangerous situations.

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