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Skid Steer Loader Safety Hazards & Safe Operation Tips

Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-07-29      Origin: Site

skid steer loader

A skid steer loader is one of the most useful types of heavy equipment in any fleet, providing power and versatility in a compact package. However, simply because they are smaller than most other types of heavy equipment, this does not mean that they are potentially lower safety risks.

Any machine on a job site may result in injury or death to an operator or worker on the ground, as well as damage to other equipment or materials. However, by following reasonable safety procedures, this risk can be reduced significantly. Most accidents are the direct outcome of inattention, cutting corners or ignoring standard safety protocols.

Review the following possible hazards of skid steer loaders and basic safety tips to help prevent any accidents.

Hazards Related To The Operation Of Skid Steer Loaders

  • Truck mounted hazards pose a severe threat to those who work around skid steer loaders. Operation of these machines often includes working in high traffic areas. Backing up is also a common need during work assignments. These factors, combined with blind spots, create a significant risk for collisions to occur.

  • The risk of being run over is also a major concern when operating a skid steer loader. Workers on the ground around such equipment who find themselves in the line of fire may be caught between the skid steer loader and other objects. The person operating the skid steer loader can also be the victim of being crushed by his or her own machine.

  • Rollovers or tumbles are another leading cause of skid steer operator fatalities.

  • Pinch points are common on skid steer loaders and can easily lead to injuries to body parts.

Safety Symbols You Might See On A Skid Steer Loader

High pressure fluid

High pressure fluid can cause an injection injury

Keep hands away

Keep hands away from moving machine parts

Burn Hazard

Burn Hazard

Equipment can drop

Equipment can drop and crush you

Avoid getting caught

Avoid getting caught in rotating parts

Safety Tips For Operating Skid Steer Loaders

1. Pay attention to the basics

  • Fasten seat belts or use restraint bars.

  • Use the 3-pt. method for installation and removal.

  • Do not exceed the working capacity of the skid steer loader.

  • Lower the bucket and park safely.

2. Check regularly

  • Controls and joystick for safe operation.

  • Safe starting device.

  • Locking/hitching points of bucket and attachments.

  • Tire condition - slick tires can be a hazard.

3. No passengers anywhere

  • Even young children in the cab can interfere with controls and visibility.

  • Bucket has no shock absorbers: children and adults can easily pop out.

4. Know your field of view

  • The size of your arms, barrels and loads will change your field of view.

  • Know all your blind spots.

  • Consider using a rearview mirror or back-up camera to avoid blind spots.

5. When driving

  • Keep the bucket low. If vision is obstructed, drive backwards.

  • Driving slowly keeps the machine under control.

  • If you must drive on the highway, effective Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) signs, flashing warning lights and escort vehicles are critical.

6. When using a scraper

  • Secure large loads that may fall off the bucket.

  • Don't overload: know the bucket's limits

  • Operate the lift and bucket controls smoothly.

  • Do not dump lifted, loaded buckets in raw or fast speeds.

Common Safety Signs You Should Know

Skid steer loader manufacturers typically place important safety information on the equipment and in the operator's manual. It is critical that all safety information be read, understood and followed. Here are three common safety signs.


Caution means you need to be careful and follow instructions or you may be injured.


Warning is more serious and means you need to follow the instructions on the sign or you could be badly injured or killed.


Danger is the most serious safety message. If you do not follow the instructions, you can be seriously injured or killed.

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