4 Safety Tips To Keep In Mind When Using Front-End Loaders

Front-end loaders are a mainstay of most construction sites, and they can seem deceptively simple to operate. However, in order to use these loaders safely, you need to be aware of some techniques you can use to remain safe while you're using them. Here are some safety tips for you to remember as you use a front-end loader.

Remember to Inspect the Vehicle

Before you get in the front-end loader and drive it around, it is important that you inspect the vehicle to ensure that there are no visible signs of a problem. Ensure that the bucket of the loader is secure, and that it extends and unloads properly. Check the wheels to be sure they are properly inflated, so that you don't have to worry about a flat or blowout when you have a full bucket. It's also a good idea to be sure that the backup alarm works too.

Transport Items Slowly

While your impulse may be to put your foot on the gas a bit more so that you can do your job more quickly, it is most safe to drive the loader slowly and with the load held close to the ground. This helps avoid hitting anyone or going so fast that some of the load comes out of the bucket.

Work Near Trenches with Barricades

At one time or another, you may have to do some work near a trench. However, to be safe while doing this, it is vital that the trench have barricades to prevent you from falling in. Visibility can be difficult when you have a load in front of you, and it is not always easy to gauge how close you are to the end of the trench. Barricades provide a visual and physical barrier that can help you stay safe. If there are no barricades, insist on orange cones or temporary fencing.

Go Down Hills Backwards

It can seem instinctual to drive a loader downhill as you would a car. However, if you are carrying a load, it is important that you drive in reverse. If you drive forward, the loader is so front-heavy that it may flip if you need to apply the brakes on your way down the incline. Conversely, when you are going uphill, remember to always drive in a forward direction. Gravity will help the loader stay stable as you ascend.

With the safety tips in this article, you can be confident that you're handling a front-end loader properly. Consult the manufacturer for loading limits and other tips about how best to manage the machine.