Erosion Control March/April 2017 : Page 33

pany, says, “Skid steers and CTLs are just so versatile. We use them for every conceivable task. We even use them where most people would use a dozer; they have that much power, yet they are far easier to trailer to a job.” John Deere has a new G series of skid steers and CTLs with higher and longer reach, but that can still fit in restricted areas. The skid steer also has greater boom and bucket breakout forces and can travel up to 12 mph. The cab is equipped for all types of weather and has two boom styles—vertical lift and radial lift. The vertical lift rises only in front of the machine, keeping the load closer and more stable. This is a good choice for heavy loads such as sod, riprap, or paving stones. The radial lift has more reach and is good for unloading or loading trucks or for scooping and placing backfill. It is less stable, but a good operator will work easily with that issue. The G-series CTLs rise higher and have a longer reach. The load value has increased to 3,700 pounds and they have longer tracks and wider rollers and idlers. Horsepower ranges from 50 to 75, depending on the model. Huwa says one of the reasons for buying John Deere skid steers is the increased visibility. This feature increases safety, which is always a top consideration. He also depends on John Deere Worksight to help manage the machines, and he appreciates that John Deere has dealers in every state. What Attachments? All of the major manufacturers of com-pact equipment also have attachments that can be used to multiply the types of jobs possible. For example, Caterpil-lar offers backhoe, bale spear, blade, broom, and brushcutter attachments for its compact track or multi-terrain loaders. Bobcat has a variety of buckets, diggers, and clamps that can be added to its compact excavators. Manitou America/Edge Attach-ments (formerly CE Attachments) also has a full line of universal attachments that fit various models and brands. Boom lifts, brooms, scrapers, silt fence installer, and brush mower are a few of the selections that can be attached with the universal-style ALL-TACH system. Also available is a POWER-A-TACH MARCH/APRIL 2017 system to quickly install and remove attachments. The operator hooks up the necessary hydraulic lines. Using these attachments means more uses from the same compact equipment, giving the owner more flexibility in the jobs that can be performed with only one machine. The attachments chosen must be the right size for the equipment. An attachment that is too heavy will wear out the equipment faster and might pose an injury risk to the operator. How Can Operators Stay Safe? Safety is the top priority every time an operator steps into any machine. The emphasis on safety starts with training. The major manufactures have training modules to help. For example, Bobcat has a course for compact excavator operators that includes learning the operating features of the machine, iden-tifying the controls and their functions, and getting familiar with all safety fea-tures. Knowledge of safe maneuvering and using the machine, as well as the principles of lift capacity while using the excavator, are covered. Caterpillar University is an online training program that teaches all aspects of operating machines safely and effi-ciently. The company also has Demon-stration and Learning Centers to show how the machines should be used. A Safety Manual series developed by the Association of Equipment Manufac-tures (AEM) covers safety for compact equipment. Here are some tips: • Know what the manufacturer’s recommendations are. • Understand the limitations of each machine and stay well within them. • Be sure to understand and use all safety features, such as roll-over-protective structure (ROPS), falling-object-protective structure (FOPS), seat belt, pull-down seat-bar restraint, and control interlock systems. • Hydraulic leaks are one of the big-gest hazards. Never try to touch the leaking hose, even with gloves. Shut the machine down and call a technician. • Avoid steep slopes, and if one must be crossed, travel with the heavy end of the machine pointed uphill. EROSION CONTROL 33

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