TheNational Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)has issued an Alert on preventing injuries and deaths from skid-steer loaders, which are commonly used for materials handling and excavating in agriculture, construction, and general industry.

According to NIOSH, studies in the 1990s suggested that employers, supervisors, and workers may not fully appreciate the potential hazards associated with operating or working near skid-steer loaders and may not follow safe work procedures for controlling these hazards.

While some of the dangers of skid-steer loaders are those associated with other types of mobile construction machinery, skid-steer loaders have features that can expose workers to additional injury risks. An example from the Alert: A front-entry configuration "places the operator in the zone of lift-arm movement with the potential of being caught between the machine frame and the lift arm or attachment if controls are inadvertently activated during entry or exit."

The Alert lists procedures for safely operating the vehicles, describes six deaths involving skid-steer loaders and recommends methods for preventing similar incidents.

The Alert is available