Skid steer loaders are popular devices used to move loose materials and for light excavation. With a bevy of attachments, they are some of the most versatile pieces of equipment today.
Used in construction, skid steers are also used for industrial applications. Their reputation for adaptability and taking abuse makes them attractive devices for various production needs, especially where facilities are larger or loose bulk material is used in the manufacturing processes.
As with forklifts, OSHA requires operators of skid steer loaders to be trained.Its regulation OSHA CFR 1926.21 states:
(a) General requirements.
Shall … establish and supervise programs for the education and training of employers and employees in the recognition, avoidance and prevention of unsafe conditions in employments covered by the Act.
(1) The employer should avail himself of the safety and health training programs …
(2) The employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.
A training program can cover any small loader design like skid steer, track drive, articulated steering and axle steer machines. It should also address factors affecting stability, safe and proper operation, pre-shift inspection, site inspection and proper material handling and excavating techniques. Classroom training should be followed by an onsite hands-on evaluation where each operator is coached in good habits and removing risky behaviors.
Compact loaders can use multiple attachments, in many different environments including slopes, slippery surfaces, deep mud and unstable ground. Many times this challenging operation is in close proximity to structures and co-workers.
Training for risks and hazards, coaching proper techniques and individual evaluation of the operator’s ability to operate in a safe and proper manner can make the difference between an accident and getting employees home to their families.