Injuries and at least one death reported from Skid Steer accidents


Skid steer loaders and other heavy equipment has been known to directly cause serious workplace injury and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a dozen or more deaths may occur each year as a result of skid steer accidents, resulting from employer and operator negligence, lack of training, or machine defects.

In one wrongful death case, a construction worker was allegedly killed after he was struck by a silently reversing John Deere 326E skid steer. John Deere listed a backup alarm as an optional equipment item, even though a backup signal would appear to be a critical safety feature on a large, dangerous piece of equipment.

A skid steer loader, made by John Deere and other manufacturers, is a type of compact tractor that has a frame that can be used for a variety of industrial tasks. As with many other pieces of heavy equipment, skid steer loaders inherently put workers at risk of rollover and run-over accidents. Workers have been injured or killed in a variety of mishaps, including:

  • Failure of backup signal
  • Poor equipment maintenance
  • Defeat of Interlocked Controls
  • Improper Exit
  • Unsupported Bucket
  • Working Near a Raised Bucket
  • Improper Backing Procedures
  • Removed Side Screens
  • Missing seat belts and other safety features
  • Pinning worker between the bucket and frame of the machine
  • Pinning worker between lift arms and frame
  • Rollover Accidents

Skid steer loaders have features that can expose workers to serious risks, including locking wheels that enable the loader to turn in small spaces, though because the machines are so heavy, such maneuvering can result in a rollover situation.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated and experienced Ohio workplace injury and product liability injury attorney, well-versed in the science, economic impact, and human loss that an injury or death has a victim’s life and their family.


Skid Steer Injury


One recent report noted that a construction worker was killed after he was allegedly hit bluntly by a John Deere skid steer reversing silently. It did not appear to be equipped with a backup signal alarm.

An obtained manual from John Deere listed a backup alarm as an optional equipment item, even though such a basic item should be an included safety feature on any piece of industrial equipment. Other safety related John Deere skid steer injury reports in Ohio include:

  • Machine Rollover
  • Machine Crush
  • Falls entering or exiting machine
  • Entanglements
  • Defective safety designs
  • Inadequate warning labels on equipment
  • Negligent training
  • Removal of safety devices from equipment

Defective Skid Steer Loader Design


The design and manufacturing of John Deere skid steers may be flawed, according to attorneys investigating skid steer accidents. Missing safety features like backup alarms might constitute a defective design. If you are involved in a skid steer accident, it’s likely that the fault may lie with an employer or equipment manufacturer.

Victims may be eligible for compensation in the cases of negligent management, defective equipment or machine malfunction. If a skid steer loader accident occurs because the manufacturer’s design is not safe, and manufacturers neglect to warn operators in a safety manual of risks, or fail to include basic safety features like backup alarms, or missing seat belts, they can be liable for injury or death at the workplace.

John Deere skid steers are versatile machines have a variety of attachments including brooms, augers & trenchers, cutters, shredders & mulchers, hammers, backhoes, buckets, blades & scrapers, planers, forks & spears, grapples, rollers, rakes & tillers, snow attachments and steel tracks. Skid steers are used in a variety of industries, including:

Skid steer, heavy loaders and other industrial equipment manufactured by John Deere, Caterpillar, and others have been linked to serious workplace injuries and deaths in recent years on constructions sites, fracking sites, farms, and warehousing facilities.

Called by John Deere, “Masters of multitasking,” skid steers can be used in several different capacities, including:

  • Digging & Excavation
  • Material handling and loading
  • Warehouse utility
  • Farming activities—baling hay
  • Snow removal
  • Ground leveling & Landscaping
  • Cutting & mulching

Skid Steer Accident Lawsuits


Legal options for victims will depend on what caused a particular skid steer accident and injury. Regardless, these injuries are usually too severe for the injured party to negotiate a fair settlement without an attorney. If you have been injured at the workplace, the case may first handle the question of Worker’s Compensation viability.

If an accident in question involves a manufacturing defect, the removal of an equipment safety guard or a knowing OSHA violation, further legal action may be warranted. It is critical to preserve evidence of the accident, refrain from posting on social media about the injury, and talk to witnesses who may have been present.

If a skid steer injury is caused by defective machinery, the litigation path may be lengthy and complex, though compensation could be very lucrative. Defective Equipment injuries can be catastrophic and should be addressed by an experienced product liability attorney.


Machine Safety: Avoid Skid Steer Injury


Manufacturers like John Deere have a duty to list all risks of operation in a safety manual, and employers have a responsibility to make sure workers are well-trained and understand all manufacturers’ warnings and instructions before they operate skid steer machines. Workers should be aware of the following safe operating procedures:

  • Operate the loader ONLY from the designated compartment
  • Stay seated when operating the loader
  • Work with the seat belt fastened and the restraint bar in place.
  • Keep your arms, legs, and head inside the cab
  • Load, unload, and turn on level ground
  • Turn with bucket in the lowest possible position
  • Never exceed the model’s recommended load capacity
  • Keep bystanders and other workers away from your work area
  • NEVER modify or remove safety devices
  • Enter only when the bucket or other attachment is flat on the ground
  • Never use foot or hand controls for steps or handholds
  • Employer: Maintain skid steer in Safe Operating Condition
  • Keep controls free of mud, ice, snow, and debris
  • Never work on the machine with the engine running
  • Operators and workers who service the loaders must read and follow a skid steer manufacturer’s operating and service procedures given in the operator’s manuals.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury that involve skid steer accidents and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding skid steer accidents.