Skid Steer Loader Accidents
Many people operate a skid steer loader without incident, but for those who are injured in an accident, the experience can be horrifying.
Victims may suffer serious injuries, including fractured bones and even death. If you have been injured in a skid steer loader accident, it is essential to speak with an attorney to protect your rights.
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC understand the devastation that these accidents can cause and are here to help you seek compensation for your losses. Contact our farm accident lawyers toll-free today at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation to explore your legal options.
The lifting capacity of the compact tractor provides many opportunities for performing various tasks to meet the needs of the owner and operator. The loader can be used as a forklift, front-end loader, bulldozer, grader, or another tool with the proper attachments.
The skid steer loader has a wide bucket that can lift and transport large amounts of gravel, sand, or dirt to be deposited elsewhere.
However, skid steer loader accidents are all too common because of their agility and ability to maneuver in tight places on different surface levels. 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 Safety features on a skid steer loader expose operators to additional risks. One feature independently locks the wheels to allow the loader to turn quickly in tightly confined spaces.
While this feature is advantageous, it places the operator and loader at risk of a rollover accident. In addition, diesel engines power most skid steer loaders, making them noisy and hazardous to respiratory health because they emit exhaust fumes.
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 loader 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, and the bucket or movable arm can easily crush or pin the operator. In addition, The wash bay is a dangerous place for loaders. The wash bay is full of water and other liquids that can cause the loader to slip and fall.
The loaders operators work in a noisy environment endangering hearing loss and other safety concerns.
The most common hazards involved in using a skid steer loader include:
- Loader rolls over
- 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 loader bucket
- Crushed limbs, lacerations, and catastrophic injury caused by a lowering of the movable arm
Skid Steer Loaders Risks
Skid steer loader accidents can occur when:
- The operator does not have a firm grip on the controls
- The safety bar is not in place
- The operator is not paying attention to their surroundings
The loaders emit exhaust fumes which can compromise the operators' respiratory health.
The lift arm pivot points are the weakest link on a skid steer loader. Should the loader hit something while in operation, it could cause serious injury or damage to the operator or nearby bystanders.
The lift arms of a skid loader can be very dangerous. If the lift arms are not properly secured, they can swing out and hit someone, causing serious injury or even death. When a load falls on a loader driver, it is often fatal.
The loader arms on a loader are incredibly powerful. If the loader arms were to come down on a person, the force would be enough to crush them. Unfortunately, the loader arms are not the only thing on a loader that can cause severe injury or death. The bucket can also be deadly if it is misused.
The front wheels of a loader are locked. If the tires leave the ground, the machine can easily tip over. Additional risks are endangering hearing capability due to the loud noise it makes and being caught in between the machine's implements while they are in operation.
Standard Features of Compact Wheel Loaders
Skid steer loaders are versatile construction equipment ideal for various tasks.
The pressure switch on the loader activates the hydraulic pump when the driver moves the levers. A safety belt and operator restraining device are standard on all models of skid steer loaders.
Diesel engines are often used in industrial and construction settings because they're built to withstand heavy use. However, this same strength can make them dangerous.
Safety Precautions While Operating Skid Steer Loaders
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates the industry standards on skid steer loaders and other heavy machines.
The agency mandates that specific safety precautions are taken and equipment is installed on the unit to minimize the loader's potential hazards.
The safety devices features include:
- Seat Belts
- Interlocked Controls
- Lift Arm Supports
- ROPS (Rollover Protective Structures)
- Side Screens
- FOPS (Falling Object Protective Structures)
Lift Arm Supports for Loader
The movable arm supports for the loader provide a comfortable working environment for the driver while performing various tasks. The movable arm supports can be adjusted to different heights and angles to accommodate the operator’s needs.
Past Skid Steer Loader Accidents
In 2015, a 54-year-old man was killed when the loader he was operating tipped forward, and the bucket crushed the operator's chest. The operator died on the scene.
The man had gotten out and stood against the cab beneath the movable bucket when the bucket lowered and the loader rolled.
In another incident, The operator raised the bucket to dump a load of gravel and the skid steer tipped over backward, the injuries sustained were serious but not life-threatening.
In a separate incident, the loader ran over the worker’s leg, pinning her to the ground. The worker was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Elsewhere, the loader driver was trying to drag a tree on a slippery area. The tree shifted, causing the loader to easily tip over. The driver was ejected from his seat and suffered serious injuries.
Filing a Lawsuit or Claim to Obtain Financial Compensation for a Serious Injury Involving a Skid Steer Loader
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is experienced in handling product liability in personal injury cases involving skid steer loader rollover accidents. Our experiencedfarm accident attorneys specialize in wrongful death and catastrophic injury claims.
Our lawyers seek financial damages from property owners, contractors, subcontractors, and third parties, including industrial implements and parts manufacturers. We prepare all our cases for trial by consulting experts, assembling evidence, and interviewing witnesses.
A skilled personal injury attorney can evaluate the case to determine if the skid steer loader accident was caused by a defective design, a failure to warn, or negligence by others. We believe 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.