If you run a construction company, you probably need to use a skid steer at some point. Skid steers, also called skid loaders, are heavy construction equipment that use lift arms to pick up and move various objects around a construction site. There are various attachments used, from grapplers to trenchers, that help to perform a lot of different functions. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when operating this type of equipment.
Inspect and Maintain the Skid Steer Regularly
Just like with all heavy equipment on the construction site, you need to regularly inspect and maintain the equipment. Even if you rented the equipment and it was just dropped off, take a few minutes to make sure everything is working properly. This can help to protect your workers, not to mention preventing damage to the home or building you are working on. The inspections should include checking all controls and levels, making sure the safety devices are working, and being sure the bucket and various attachments are secured properly. Also look at the tyres and make sure they have enough tread to avoid slipping.
Train Employees to Use Equipment Properly
Even if you have a worker that learns quickly and claims to have used a skid steer before, do not allow them to operate it until they have been fully trained, especially if you know they haven't used certain skid steer attachments before. This is a heavy and potentially dangerous machine that requires working knowledge and safety precautions. Never allow anyone on the equipment who has not been trained. The operator of the skid steer should know to remain in the seat when the engine is on, how to safely move the equipment and attachments while also looking for people who might be in the way, and using the safety controls.
Training employees also includes other workers on the site that won't be using the skid steer. They should know when it is in operation and that they need to remain a safe distance away.
Keep Track of the Load Size and Balance
Skid steers can have a shifting balance when loading materials or supplies onto the machine. As you begin picking up loads with the bucket, you should be aware of the balance of that bucket, ensuring there isn't a heavier load on one side or the other. If you are using attachments like trenchers, it can also affect how the machine functions. Also be careful about shifting balances when going up a hill or slope.