“The most important aspect of attachment safety is matching the attachment to the skid steer’s lift capabilities,” says Wright. “You never want to exceed the rated operating capacity, or flow capacities, of the loader. Overloading the operating capacity or hydraulic rates can cause the unit to tip forward or cause hydraulic components to fail.”
A skid steer is basically a power source which operates a front-end loader. A common safety concern arises with raised lift arms moving while performing maintenance. Most manufacturers’ skid steer loaders come equipped with a lift-arm support designed to prevent the arms from falling. If the lift arms need to be raised for service or maintenance, an operator should always support the lift arms per the manufacturer’s instructions, and never walk under raised lift arms unless they are properly supported.
Also, many skid steer loaders, including Terex models, are designed with a tilt-up cab for easy access to the machine’s critical components. For safety purposes, this feature is also equipped with a lock-out mechanism, which should be engaged during maintenance.
As an added safety feature, John Deere skid steers include a lockout system that can be engaged from inside the cab. “If the arms need to be in the raised position, the operator can lock it out from inside the cab, then get out safely underneath the loader arms,” says Zupancic.
To reduce the chance for burns, maintenance should be performed once the machine has cooled down completely; preferably at the start of a work shift.
Warkenthien summarizes safe skid-steer maintenance: “To maximize safety when servicing a skid steer, fully lower the lift arms or engage the approved lift arm support device(s). If lift arms need to be raised, make sure to engage the proper lift arm support device provided by manufacturer. Before servicing a skid steer, always stop the engine, release all hydraulic pressure and allow hot parts to cool.”