Small but mighty, skid steers are a versatile piece of equipment used primarily for digging and lifting heavy materials. Since skid steers are easy to maneuver, you’ll more than likely find them on construction and landscaping jobs. It’s important for both site managers and equipment operators to know how to safely use a skid steer if it’s on the jobsite. Equipment Trader is here to help with six quick tips for using a skid steer.
1. Read Your Skid Steer’s Owner’s Manual
Your skid steer’s owner’s manual is filled with important information so you and anyone else on the jobsite can safely operate, adjust, and maintain the equipment. This manual should be your go-to instructions as you’re learning how to use your specific skid steer model, as well as if your machine has any mechanical problems.
It’s also a good idea for operators to take a safety training course. There are online and in-person training classes that teach skilled and safe skid steer operation for certification.
2. Know the Limits of Your Skid Steer
A skid steer is an incredibly durable piece of equipment, but it’s important to know the machine’s limitations. Be aware of the skid steer’s load capacity. Overloading a skid steer’s bucket could cause the machine to roll over, so it’s important to follow the recommended load limits.
3. Assess Your Worksite
Before operating the skid steer, you should evaluate your worksite for potential hazards. When the skid steer is in use, ensure that there are no other workers within range to keep everyone safe. Use extra caution when operating on rough ground, slopes, and when turning. Operators should also be aware of ditches, underground lines, trees, cliffs, and overhead wires. If there are any unavoidable hazards, find a way to safely work around them.
4. Inspect Your Skid Steer Before Use
After surveying the jobsite, you should inspect the skid steer for any visual damage and wear. Pay close attention to fluid leaks, as well as missing or broken parts. If you do see any damaged or worn out parts on the skid steer, place a safety tag on the equipment and remove it from operation until it can be repaired.
Finally, remove any loose items or debris from the steps, handrails, and operator compartment. You should also check the fuel gauge and make sure you have enough fuel to tackle the day’s duties.
5. Keep Up with Regular Maintenance
Proper maintenance is essential for extending the life and operation of your skid steer. It’s always best practice to follow your manufacturer’s recommendations on the type of maintenance and its frequency.
If you decide to perform any maintenance yourself, the owner’s manual has step-by-step instructions on how to do so. Daily/pre-operation maintenance includes checking the fluid levels, greasing pivot points, and removing debris from the track.
If you’re using the skid steer in wet, muddy, or dusty conditions, you’ll want to clean the machine after use. This cleaning can include removing covers and guards to thoroughly remove dirt and debris.
6. Utilize Attachments for More Versatility
A skid steer typically has a bucket for digging, lifting, and moving materials. However, the arms of a skid steer can be equipped with a range of attachments to take care of even more construction, landscaping, or forestry jobs. Skid steer attachments include an auger, broom, dozer blade, backhoe, trencher, and more. If you do use an attachment, you should make sure it is securely installed to the skid steer before operation.
Skid steers can quickly lift and clear heavy materials so you can more easily tackle a hard day’s work. By following these tips, everyone on your jobsite will have an understanding of how to safely and efficiently use this versatile machine. If you don’t need the equipment long term, you should consider renting a skid steer.
And, if you’re looking for a skid steer or another type of heavy equipment, find new and used models nationwide on EquipmentTrader.com.