Articulated & Skid Steer Loaders

Articulated and Skid Steer Loaders are specialized pieces of equipment which require experience and training to operate.

Articulated Loaders

Articulated loader

Articulated loaders have an articulated main frame that supports a front end attachment, such as a shovel bucket, fork lift tines or grapple.

Skid Steer Loaders

Skid Steer Loader

Skid steer loaders are small, rigid frame machines with lift arms that can be used to complete a variety of tasks. Sometimes commonly referred to as "Bobcats", skid steer loaders may have tracks or wheels. Left and right wheels or tracks are operated at different speeds, which turns the machine by "skidding" across the ground.


The hazards of articulated loaders and skid steer loaders include getting crushed or pinched (by the mainframe in the case of articulated loaders and by the lift arms in the case of skid steer loaders), overloading and tipping, and falling or dropped loads.

For more details on articulated and skid steer loaders, click on the links below:

Articulated & Skid Steer Loader Training

Only trained and authorized persons are permitted to operated articulated and skid steer loaders. Training is offered by Environmental Health and Safety and includes:

  • Explanations of electrical, fall, and falling object hazards;
  • Procedures for dealing with hazards;
  • Recognizing and avoiding unsafe conditions in the work setting;
  • Instructions for correct operation of the lift (including maximum intended load and load capacity);
  • Demonstrations of the skills and knowledge needed to operate a loader before operating it on the job;
  • When and how to perform inspections
  • Manufacturer’s requirements. 

In addition to the EHS classroom training, hands-on operator certification is required for articulated and skid steer loaders.

To view the upcoming schedule and sign up for an training class, sign in to the Employee Learning Center.

Prior to Operating an Articulated or Skid Steer Loader

Before getting in to operate an articulated or skid steer loader, there are several factors to consider:

  • Only trained and authorized employees may operated loaders. For more information, see Articulated & Skid Steer Loader Training
  • Each loader's lifting capabilities and limitations are different. Operators must be familiar with the specific piece of equipment they will be assigned to operate
  • All safety mechanisms and interlocks are in place and functioning properly
  • Operators must perform a pre-operation inspection to ensure all equipment is functioning properly. REPORT ALL ISSUES AND DO NOT OPERATE MALFUNCTIONING EQUIPMENT!
  • Ensure all attachments are fully secured and operating properly

Starting and Operating a Loader

Once all pre-operation tasks have been completed, the loader is ready to be operated. Follow these precautions during operation:

  • Loaders should only be operated outdoors or in well-ventilated areas
  • Always face the machine when entering or exiting
  • Don't use the steering wheel or joystick as a handhold
  • Fasten your seatbelt as soon as you are seated
  • Maintain good visibility at all times. If you are using a spotter, maintain visual contact with that person or stop the machine.
  • Keep sufficient clearance from overhead power lines and other energized conductors
  • Know the approximate weight, dimensions and center of gravity of the load to be lifted
  • Use slow and gradual joystick movements
  • Allow sufficient space and time for stopping
  • When traveling, lower the attachmend and the load as low as possible