How To Operate A Wheel Loader Safely
A wheel loader provides heavy-duty power for loading and carrying heavy or large amounts of material. Although it is built according to recognised safety technical rulings, there is still a possibility of danger when this type of heavy-powered machine is not used correctly. In this article, we provide you with some guidelines on how to safely operate a wheeled loader to avoid accidents and damage to property. Operating the loader properly can also help extend the life of your machine.
1. Do not use the loader as a towing vehicle. A wheel loader is only for loosening, loading, pushing and distributing bulk materials. If a pallet fork is fitted onto the loader, then it may be used for picking up, transporting and setting down general loads. Avoid using the loader for jobs other than what was mentioned as you may face the risk of accidents or damage.
2. The wheel loader may only be driven and operated by trained personnel over the age of 18 who have knowledge and experience in its operation. They must also be physically and mentally fit and must be able to perform the jobs entrusted to then reliably. When driving on public roads, the driver must have a valid driver’s license. Also, remember to wear the safety belt when operating the loader.
3. Wear proper protective clothing when operating the wheel loader. Avoid loose-fitting clothes including open cuffs or jackets and accessories such as rings and scarves as they may get caught in the machine. Wear safety goggles, boots, helmet or gloves whenever necessary.
4. The wheel loader is licensed to carry only one person – the driver. Other personnel are not permitted inside the driver’s cab. Also, never carry people on the tools or implements.
5. Keep a safe distance, ideally 0.5 metres, from structures such as buildings, excavation walls, scaffolding or other machines and vehicles to avoid crushing into them.
6. Clear people away from the danger zone of the wheel loader before working with the machine. The danger zone is the area around the loader within which people could be reached or harmed by the movements of the loader, its tools and implements or by falling load or material. The driver may operate the loader only when there are no people within its danger zone and must cease operation when people enter the danger zone.
7. Never install illegal conversions to try and increase the output of your loader. All conversions have to be approved by the manufacturer. This is to ensure that the machine is safe to be handled at all times.
8. Do not brake sharply or reverse quickly when carrying a raised load. This is to prevent the material or debris from falling. Drive at walking speed or approximately 6 km/hr. Lower the load when driving on slopes or in corners.
9. The wheel loader must be driven and operated in a safe distance away from the edge of quarries, excavation pits, ditches and embankments to prevent the machine from overturning. The loader’s stability and safety against overturning must be guaranteed at all times.
10. Do not exceed the maximum load of the loader. Materials must be loaded in such a way that they do not fall during travel. Materials must also be loaded onto the machine at the lowest possible height.
Some final words
Observing safety practices when operating your loader ensures the safety of both the driver and other people. It can also prevent damage to other structures and vehicle. Before using your wheel loader, make sure to read its operation and service manual to know how you can safely operate the machine. If you encounter a problem with your loader, contact your wheel loader supplier or distributor immediately.