Skid Steers are compact, versatile pieces of equipment found on numerous construction sites. Their ability to make tight turns and accommodate numerous attachments make them a favorite for almost all work sites. They are excellent choices for clearing debris, moving materials and maneuvering through busy landscapes. But they can also be dangerous, and even deadly when not operated properly.
HANDLING AND OPERATIONS
Skids Steers are valuable pieces of equipment because the two sets of wheels can operate independently of each other allowing the machine to "skid." They can also turn in a tight circle. However, the lift arms are at the side, forcing the operator to enter and exit the skid by by stepping over the controls and attachments. This can only be done safely if the Control Interlock System is activated. Like any piece of equipment, you need to do a visual inspection before you begin, testing the controls and the movement of the arms. Remember, you are not only responsible for yourself, you are responsible for the workers around you.
Almost all skid steer accidents happen because the the operator gets crushed or trapped by the moving arms. This often happens when the safety features designed to protect you have been disabled. The most critical safety feature of a skid is the Control Interlock System. This system prevents the skid from operating until it senses the weight of the driver in the seat, and the both the restraining arm and seat belt locked into place. Skid Steers also have protective cages that surround the driver. Although they make entering and exiting more difficult, they protect you from rollovers and from reaching out into the moving parts.
AWARENESS AND EXIT
The vast majority of skid steer accidents happen when the operator is leaving the skid. To safely exit a skid, make sure the skid is parked on level ground, the attachments are down, turn the engine off and make sure the controls are locked. After you remove the key from the ignition you can safely unlock the seat belt and restraining arm. Make sure you keep three points of contact at all times and stay aware of your surroundings.