A skid steer loader is a valuable piece of equipment used in agricultural, manufacturing, construction and landscaping industries. The lifting capacity of the compact tractor provides many opportunities for performing a variety of tasks to meet the needs of the owner and operator. With the proper attachments, the loader can be uses a forklift, front end loader, bulldozer, grader or other tool.
Most commonly, the skid steer loader is equipped with a wide bucket that can lift and transport large amounts of gravel, sand or dirt to be deposited elsewhere. However, because of their agility and ability to maneuver in tight places on different surface levels, skid steer loader accidents are all too common. Statistics maintained by the National Safety Council indicate that operating a skid steer loader continues to be a high-risk occupation.
Defective Designs Involving Skid Steer Loaders
The features on a skid steer loader expose operators to substantial risks. One feature independently locks the wheels to allow the equipment to turn quickly in tight confined spaces. While this feature is advantageous, it places the operator and equipment at risk of a rollover. In addition, diesel engines power most steer skid loaders, making them noisy and hazardous to respiratory health because of the toxic exhaust fumes they emit.
Entering and exiting the skid steer loader is also dangerous where the operator can only gain access through the front by stepping on or over the bucket. Most of the controls are positioned between the left arm pivot points and the arm. While working, the operator’s feet or hands come in contact with the controls or moving parts, the bucket or lift arm can easily crush or pin the operator. The most common hazards involved in using a skid steer loader include:
- Running over others
- Catastrophic accidents when backing up due to limited visibility
- Dumping loads on others
- Crushing or pinning others
- Injuries acquired when performing maintenance on the bucket
- Crushed limbs, lacerations and catastrophic injury caused by a lowering lift arm
Safety Precautions While Operating and Working Around Skid Steer Loaders
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates the industry standards on skid steer loaders and other heavy equipment. The agency mandates that specific safety precautions be taken and equipment be installed on the unit to minimize the potential hazards of operating the loader. The safety features include:
- Seat Belts
- Interlocked Controls
- Lift Arm Supports
- ROPS (Rollover Protective Structures)
- Side Screens
- FOPS (Falling Object Protective Structure)
Establishing Negligence: The First Step Towards a Recovery for a Skid Steer Accident
Farmhands, equipment operators, construction workers and others injured by a skid steer loader might have the legal right to seek financial compensation. A skilled personal injury attorney can evaluate the case to determine if the accident was caused by a defective design, a failure to warn, or negligence by others. To win compensation, the lawyer representing the victim will need to prove elements of the case that include:
- The loader manufacturer, distributor, employer or other had a duty to protect the victim from injury when using or standing around the skid steer loader
- The party responsible for the accident failed in their duty to provide protection to the victim
- The loader did not perform as expected either by defective design or lack of the operator’s abilities
- Neglect, defect or failure to warn cause the accident with injuries
- The victim suffered real injuries caused by the accident
Filing a Lawsuit or Claim to Obtain Financial Compensation for a Serious Injury Involving a Skid Steer Loader
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are experienced in handling product liability in personal injury cases involving skid steer loader accidents. Our experienced farm accident attorneys specialize in wrongful death and catastrophic injury claims. Our law firm represents injured workers suffering loss of limbs, broken bones, back injuries, disabling neck injury, head trauma, TBI’s (traumatic brain injuries) and death.
Our lawyers seek financial damages from property owners, contractors, subcontractors and other third parties including industrial equipment and parts manufacturers. We prepare all of our cases for trial by consulting experts, assembling evidence and interviewing witnesses.
It is our firm belief that every individual at fault for a skid steer loader related injury needs to be held legally accountable. If you, or a loved one, are suffering injuries from an industrial, agricultural or construction site accident, we encourage you to call our law offices at (888) 424-5757 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation today.