The skid-steer loader is one of the most valuable tools deployed on farms. It is flexible, powerful and agile. It can work in small spaces where larger loaders cannot. But it also can be a dangerous machine to use, as evidenced by a number of fatal skid-steer accidents this year.

Skid-steer safety begins with understanding the hazards present when operating this piece of equipment, says Dean Ross, an agrosecurity and dairy farm management consultant based in Michigan.

There is a great deal of information and training available to use on the farm with employees and family members. Start by reading the sections of your owner’s manual that outline important and useful operational safety information. Keep equipment clean so that safety labels or stickers serve as a visual reminder of the operational hazards associated with skid-steer use. Many online safety information and training materials also are available. Many of them are free.

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