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Skid Steer Loader Transport - The Ultimate Guide
Tips, Tricks, and Things You Should Know.
Transporting an skid steer loader can be a difficult due to their low ground clearance. This can make loading a skid steer on a trailer with ramps difficult if the angle is too steep. Preparation, communication, compliance with local, state, and federal regulations, and strict safety procedures are musts for any machine going from Point A to Point B. Many individuals find that it is better to hire a professional to move their skid steer loader. This is especially true when moving machines over long distances, tricky routes, and through populated areas. Many times you can save money by combining your skid steer with other freight. It can be difficult and time-consuming to find the right transport provider to handle your load. Luckily, VeriTread is here for you! Our service connects shippers with qualified transport companies around the country who have extensive experience in transporting skid steer loader along with other heavy machinery and oversize load. Still, it’s always best to know everything about the process, should any surprises arise. We have prepared a fundamental guide for shipping an skid steer loader. Let’s dive into what it takes to safely and legally transport an skid steer from one place to another.
Perform a Documented Risk Assessment
To ensure that you can handle the risk of a situation, it is important to conduct an assessment. You will document what steps are taken in response and how they could fail so things never get out of control or cause unnecessary harm.
Outfit Sites & People With PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
The safety of your crew is the backbone of transport. Without proper protection, they can be at risk not only while preparing for and completing tasks but also during transport if you're carrying heavy cargo. Focusing on PPE documentation will strengthen the overall assessment skill set because it highlights how we take care of ourselves when working with risky loads and situations.
Determine the Weight and Height of Your Skid Steer Loader
Every load begins with knowing the dimensions and weight of your load. The height, width, length, and weight of your skid steer loader are vital considerations when transporting it. The DOT regulations for transportation revolve around these factors. Skid steer loaders are fairly standard, with most weighing less than 20,000 pounds and standing less than 8-feet-tall. You can usually haul skid steers with other equipment and stay within a legal load, but always verify the total load weigh and dimensions to avoid unnecessary fines, delays, or accidents.
Inspect Your Truck and Trailer
Make sure your truck has adequate power to tow the load and your trailer is rated to handle the overall cargo weight. Inspect your truck and trailer is in good working order, pay specific attention to the tires, lights, brakes, tie-down points, and hydraulic hoses.
Make sure everyone involved in loading the skid steer loader has been trained properly. Not only do they need to know what they're doing, but also how their actions might cause damage or injury if carried out improperly!
Make sure the trailer you are loading onto is on flat, level ground
A tilted trailer can cause rollover problems that are easily avoidable.
Be aware of all obstacles in your area
Adjust your loading strategy to avoid hitting any nearby objects and move everything to a safe distance if possible.
Check that your truck can handle the load and is parked and secure
Use the parking brakes or wheel chocks if necessary to prevent unwanted movement.
Check your trailer deck
Make sure it is as clean as possible and ready to accept the load. Most skid steers ship on flatbed trailers, the most economical method of heavy-haul transport. If your machinery fits on a flatbed, ship it. Remember that you’ll need a method of loading your skid steer onto the flatbed, which doesn’t tilt down. One other possibility for shipping your skid steer is a hotshot trailer. Hotshots are great for local and regional moves. They work well for long-distance skid-steer shipments too, but the savings derived versus a step-deck can be negligible over a long haul.
Line up and approach the trailer, straight on
Use a spotter if your view is obstructed. Slowly drive your machine onto the trailer, so the attachments are facing away from the driver. Make sure the machine gently lowers itself down on the trailer to avoid damaging the machine or trailer. Once you have climbed onto the trailer, ensure the bucket and attachments are lowered or tucked towards the floor of the trailer.
Secure Your Skid Steer Loader for Transport
All equipment attachments, work tools, and other accessory equipment must be lowered and secured before transportation. Secure the bucket and all attachments in place. Secure equipment components (lock all doors, covers, tailgates, and articulation points). Also, make sure the machine transmission is immobilized and brakes are locked. For additional protection to your equipment, you may choose to cover it with a tarp or wrap it with shrink wrap. This protects the equipment from dirt, debris, and moisture on the roadways. For equipment with a smokestack, be sure to cover it so debris cannot enter. Use ample & appropriate securing devices (chains, binders, straps, & anchors). Choose appropriate attachment points on the machine and trailer.
Once the load is secured, check everything a second time. It can be helpful to have a safety check system in place where multiple people check the load, instead of relying on a single person.
Verify Driver Visibility
To make sure the driver has a clear view of what’s going on around them. The placement of an skid steer loader should also allow free movement of the driver and should not obstruct them from exiting the vehicle or accessing any necessary vehicle components or accessories. This ensures the driver can safely transport the machinery and keeps your company compliant with DOT regulations.
Check out a good securement video from Heavy Metal Learning. It covers tips. tricks, do's & don'ts for how to load a skid steer.
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- Cargo Securement Rules
- DOT Driver’s Handbook on Cargo Securement
- Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Regulatory Updates
Planning the Best Route
Heavy loads can be very dangerous in rush hour traffic in big cities. Take time before your trip and map out a route (and time) that avoids areas of construction or heavy congestion on the roadways--you'll thank yourself later! Try to avoid toll roads, low-hanging bridges, or any other interruptions or delays that could slow transportation. The best routes have the least amount of bridges, turns, starts, stops, and difficult terrain.
You also need to be sure that the roads along your route can handle the weight, height, and width of your skid steer loader. It is very dangerous to assume that all roads can handle the weight of a heavy load. If the area is unfamiliar, then we strongly suggest you drive the route in a smaller vehicle first to identify areas of concern.
Run Safety Inspections While En Route
Heavy load securement requires check-ins and inspections while on the road, especially when traveling long distances. Industry safety standards recommend the following as inspection benchmarks while heavy cargo is en route:
- Once during the first 50 miles of transport.
- Once every 150 miles or once every 3 hours — whichever comes first for long-distance hauls.
- At every change of duty or change of driver station. Have the new driver run a full inspection, then document that inspection in a transport log.
Prepare the Delivery Site
Before the transportation vehicle even arrives, take the time to review and clear the designated unloading area in the receiving yard. Just as you pay attention to this during the loading phase, wet and muddy ramps and uneven unloading ground make this part of the operation much harder than necessary. Line the ramps up with the rear of the trailer bed as methodically as possible, taking time to match joints and eliminate any gaps between the trailer and the ramp. Once the machinery begins backing up, there will be no time to reposition.
With everything in place, conduct a final condition survey. Look over the equipment’s tires and hitches to ensure their health. Review roles with personnel, appointing a spotter and an equipment operator just like during the loading process and before you begin breaking down the chain tie points. You’ll also want to do a brief survey on the condition of the tie-downs themselves before their release. It is highly unsafe to undo straps and chains if the load has shifted, even minutely. If this is the case after performing a walk-through, you and the operators will have to draw up a custom unloading plan.
Free the Load
Release the chains, binders, and straps one at a time, beginning with the rear corners. Unravel excess chain that may have been wrapped around the links, then start loosening tie-downs with their ratchet-style wrench boomers. Be very careful, as chains and binders have been wound and should still be tight and pressurized. You don’t want a metal chain unexpectedly snapping up because joints and tension weren’t adequately reduced with the ratchet boomer. This could result in serious injury or death.
Slowly Back the Skid Steer Loader Down the Ramp
If a spotter is needed it is important to maintain a safe distance between the skid steer and its spotter. The equipment operator’s visibility may become hindered, so position the spotter in a way where they’re accessible, but out of harm’s way. Keep all other personnel away from the unloading area while the heavy machinery is being unloaded from the trailer.
Finish It Up
Once on the ground, perform a final inspection. Go over all equipment, truck, trailer, anchor points, and tools before sending everyone on their way. Make proper documentation and load up all tools and supplies. Stay safe and legal and send everyone home healthy and in one piece.