Compact track loaders and skid steers can be used on nearly every jobsite. From snow removal jobs to landscaping to construction, these machines are small but powerful and able to take on a wide range of material loading tasks. To get the most out of your loaders, follow our best practices for operating them safely and efficiently.
Wearing a seatbelt is a must
The leading cause of injury and death when operating a skid steer or compact track loader is rollover accidents. The sad thing is, most of those injuries or deaths could have been prevented if the operator had been wearing a seatbelt. Even if your machine has a ROPS system, you should always wear your seatbelt no matter how quick the job or short the distance to avoid being ejected from the machine. The ROPS is of no use if you are thrown outside of it.
Travel straight up and down slopes
Slopes can be dangerous in compact loaders, but if you must go up or down one, make sure the heaviest end is positioned uphill and always travel in a straight line up and down. This practice reduces the risk of a rollover by increasing the stability of the machine. When you aren't carrying a load, the back of the loader is normally heavier.
Don't leave the driver's seat while operating
The number one rule of operating a CTL or SSL is do not leave the operator's station while the engine is running or when the arms are raised. Besides rollovers, another primary cause of loader related injury is accidentally hitting or crushing someone with the bucket or the machine itself. Arms or loads can drop without warning, so you should never start the machine when outside the cab or leave running once you've exited.
Never let people ride in the bucket
Similarly, you should not transport personnel in the bucket or on other attachments. Only one person should ever be involved in the operation of a compact track loader or skid steer. Falling off the machine can result in serious injury.
How to stop the machine when you're finished using it
Lower the arms and attachment so that it is flat on the ground
Turn off the engine and remove the key
Engage the parking brake
Place the controls in a locked or neutral position