Monday, May 20, 2013

Skid-Steer Safety

As cities look for ways to improve efficiencies, and reduce sprain and strain injuries associated with manual material handling, a skid-steer is one piece of equipment they often turn to.  But as with any equipment operation safety needs to be paramount. And while OSHA does not have a specific standard on skid-steers, employers have received citations for a serious violation under the General Duty Clause of the OSHA Standard (Section 5(a)(1)).

OSHA Citations related to Skid-Steers:
  • Improper employee training on the safety features associated with the skid-steer loader
  • Disabling of the interlock control system caused it to not function properly.
  • Backup alarms did not function properly.
  • Seatbelts had been removed from the skid-steer loaders.
  • Failure to use an approved lift arm to support device during servicing.
  • Not properly maintaining the skid-steer loader according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Employees intentionally bypassing of the safety systems of the skid-steer loader.
Skid-Steer General Safety Practices:
  • Always read and understand the operator's manual before using the piece of equipment.
  • Always lower the bucket or attachment so that it is flat on the ground.
  • Do not 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. Never attempt to activate the controls unless properly seated with the seatbelt fastened and the seat bar (if equipped) lowered.
  • Keep all body parts inside the cab while operating a skid-steer loader.
  • Never modify, bypass, disable, or override safety systems.
  • Never permit riders on the skid-steer loader, in the bucket or attachment, or in the operator's compartment unless the compartment is designed to accommodate a second rider.
  • Establish a routine maintenance and inspection program in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, and use approved lift arm support device.
  • Train personnel on the proper inspection, use, maintenance, and repair of skid-steer loaders.

Getting On/Off Equipment:
§  Use three points of contact when getting in and out of skid steer. If using snow bucket or other large attachments, consider a side step for getting in and out of unit.

By Joe Ingebrand

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