Wheel loaders come in handy for a wide range of applications at all sorts of job sites. As a type of front-end loader, they’re primarily used for lifting and moving large quantities of materials. While they’re one of the most useful pieces of heavy equipment at the job site, they’re also one of the most dangerous, making wheel loader safety an important issue.
A few of the big concerns associated with wheel loader safety are the potential for tipping and rollovers due to the machine’s off-centered or shifting center of gravity, materials falling out of the bucket or the arm being lowered onto workers, and injuries or damage caused by backing up with limited visibility.
Get acquainted with the following tips for wheel loader safety to minimize the risk of crew injuries or death and damage to other equipment or materials while working in or around one of these machines.
Wheel Loader Safety Tips
- Anyone who operates a wheel loader should be fully trained to do so
- Keep the owner’s manual in the machine, accessible to all operators
- Perform thorough pre- and post-operation inspections of the wheel loader before and after each use
- Pay close attention to ensuring that the attachment is securely affixed to the machine
- Never operate a wheel loader that has signs of damage, malfunctioning controls or safety features, or other possible problems
- The wheel loader should be off when getting in and out of the cab, and the arms should be lowered; maintain three points of contact between your limbs and the machine when entering and exiting
- Only operate a wheel loader while seated in the cab with the seat belt or safety bars engaged
- Nobody should ever ride on the exterior of the wheel loader, including on its arms or in the bucket
- Never stand beneath the raised arms or attachment of a wheel loader
- Review all specs to ensure you’re using an approved attachment in the correct way for an appropriate application
- Do not ever exceed the machine’s maximum load capacity
- Material loads must be evenly distributed in the bucket
- Lift and lower loads slowly and steadily
- The bucket should be as low to the ground as possible while transporting a load
- Go slowly and cautiously across unstable or rough terrain
- Use the backup alarm and mirrors and communicate with ground crew when going in reverse
- Travel forward when going up an incline and in reverse when carrying a load down a steep slope
- Don’t turn the wheel loader while a load is raised
- Maintain a safe distance from the edges of trenches
- Keep on top of preventive maintenance to promote safety and efficiency