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  1. #1
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    2003 Kubota L3430

    Default SAFETY WARNING: Using Loader to Lift with Chains

    There is a current thread I started to discuss the merits of chains vs. ropes to lift things with the loader. I am very angry with myself. I read fine print for a living, yet I neglected to read my FEL owners manual and labels before turning to this forum.

    The kubota answer to this question is clear: ALL FORMS OF CHAIN/ROPE/CABLE LIFTING ARE PROHIBITED.

    The Kubota LA402 loader manual has 37 paragraphs of safety precautions. Most of precautions are contingent--ie, the caution uses words such as "strongy recommended" (seat belt and ROPS, eg), or "exercise extra caution when", or "avoid", or "protect yourself by". The word "never" is used in an absolute sense in only two places: going or reaching under a raised bucket and the following:

    "Never lift or pull any load from any point of the loader with a chain, rope, or cable. Doing so could cause a roll over or serious damage to the loader."

    There is also a label on my loader that addresses this specific issue. It reads: "NEVER connect chain, cable or rope to a loader bucket while operating loader." (The upper case is on the label.) This is the only safety label on the entire tractor that is required by Kubota to be AFFIXED IN TWO PLACES. There is one such label on each side of the loader above the loader quick release pins. There are two other prohibitions on this label: "DO NOT stand or work under raised loader or bucket", and "DO NOT use loader as a work platform."

    One can reasonably conclude that, in Kubota's opinion, loader lifting with chains/etc. is one of the three most dangerous activities to engage in with a loader. Given that they require this label two be affixed TWICE, it is also reasonable to conclude that Kubota considers FEL chain lifting to be one of the three most dangerous activities you can engage in with your tractor. Certainly the other two activities on the label are highly dangerous. I knocked my son off a 28 foot ladder the first day I had my tractor when I was trying to block the bottom of the ladder with my loader and accidentally raised it. My dealer told me how one of their 25-year servicemen was cut in half--literally cut in half at the waist in front of his co-workers--when he was leaning over the hood of a large machine and the bucket fell. If Kubota is putting FEL chain lifting in this category of risk, they certainly have my attention.

    I have not, frankly, seen Kubota's viewpoint reflected in discussions here. FEL lifting with chains seems to be tacitly accepted as a routine part of tractoring. There are extended discussions of what kind of chain to use, what kind of hooks to use, where to put the hooks, how to affix the hooks, etc. Have we been somewhat remiss here?

    I think we need to do two things for our common education and especially for the inexperienced tractor users, both current and future.

    1. We should report what loader manuals and labels say on other tractors--all the different manufacturers.

    2. Those who continue to hold the view that FEL chain lifting is an acceptable practice should explain their reasoning.

    In the meantime, I am suspending all thoughts of FEL chain lifting. I have other and safer things to do with my tractor time.

    Glenn


  2. #2
    Veteran Member gerard's Avatar
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    Default Re: SAFETY WARNING: Using Loader to Lift with Chains

    Glenmac,
    I think part of the reason kubota has to take a public stance against lifting with the FEL is due to the litigious nature of todays society and a willingness to affix blame on anyone but yourself if you get hurt doing something stupid. This seems to be a strictly liabiltiy protection issue on the part of Kubota, probably on the advice of a team of briefcase carrying people with esq after their names. It makes no sense at all that you cannot carry something safely as long as it does not exceed the capacity of the loader and you don't have to carry it too high. The main problem I see is with a full bucket of "stuff" you can still carry the load low, reducing tipping probability. When lifting with chains etc, you necessarily have to operate with the bucket higher, depending on the size/height of the carried load. Obvioulsy this raises your cg and is inherently unsafe. That said you can still do it safely as long as you are cognizant of these factors, go S L O W, and only operate on firm level ground. Bottom line is there are too many variables for Kubtoa to sanction this type of lifting as rigging is a complicated field unto itself, there fore they don't want the "weekend warrior" doing it. I use my head, common sense, and have a respect fpr the weight and physics, and will continue to use the FEL for lifting when necessary.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: SAFETY WARNING: Using Loader to Lift with Chains

    Gerard, two things.

    1. When lawyers advise a client to take actions (like labeling) to avoid liability, it is because those situations have already resulted in significant liability. And if there has been actual significant liability, there have been actual significant injuries from from the practice at issue. It's not as if they are warning us about something ridiculously remote--like don't brush hog during a meteor shower.

    2. Do you have the same reaction to the other 2 cautions on the label?

    My inclination is to debate this since it is a safety issue.


  4. #4

    Join Date
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    Kubota L2500DT Standard Transmission

    Default Re: SAFETY WARNING: Using Loader to Lift with Chains

    Glenn -

    You know I'm a newbie tractor owner myself, and I'm certainly not down-playing the potential dangers of chain-lifting with the FEL, but I think we're talking about corporate liability here.

    I spent several years as data processing manager for a scaffolding manufacturer and I got to know the products up close and personal. One thing that caught my attention was the incredible number of warning labels on virtually every piece of every scaffold. It seemed to me that if the customer heeded every warning they would never get any work done. I later came to find out that manufacturers of such equipment spend a lot of time in court defending against injury or death claims where their product was involved.

    Most of the cases are dismissed when the true story comes out and the operator turns out to be at fault, but a good lawyer would always try to make the case that there wasn't sufficient warning given by the manufacturer. One case I recall specifically was a man who assembled the scaffold to a height of 30 feet (with a base of approximately 4' x 8'), on a slope on a windy day. Take a wild guess what happened. His lawyer argued that the warning labels about requiring outriggers when going higher than 15 feet were not clearly visible from the top of the 30 foot platform. They didn't want to talk about the slope or the wind.

    The company won that case and nearly all others, but the message is clear -- manufacturers have to go out of their way to cover their fannies against all of the boneheaded things that some small number of their customers will do with their equipment. In other words, they can't count on customers employing simple common sense.

    How does this apply to chain hooks on loaders? I'm probably too new at this to answer the question properly, but I plan to use chains for various lifting tasks and I am counting on my own room-temperature IQ to keep me out of harm's way.


  5. #5
    Veteran Member gerard's Avatar
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    Default Re: SAFETY WARNING: Using Loader to Lift with Chains

    While I stand by my earlier post I will clarify it a little. I do not work under the loader when it's lifted (but wouldn't need a warning label to tell me that) Again common sense says a line or valve could blow and the loader would come down from gravity. Not an unrealistic situation. I fully understand the warnings and why they are there. It is pretty easy to either hurt yourself OR your tractor when doing these maneuvers UNLESS you are very cognizant of all the factors. Obviously lifting from a single connection point such as a single welded hook concentrates ALL the force at that point on the bucket. This could twist the bucket and or loader arms if you lifted to capacity. IE I always attach to two points equidistant on the bucket - distributes the weight more evenly. Same applies with pulling. Can I pull somethings with the bucket safely? yes. If I'm going to max the capacity out in pulling ie stumps etc, I pull from the drawbar. I don't mean to diminish the potential problems but sometimes I really think idiot labels are for idiots. Do you REALLY need a label on a snowblower telling you not to stick your hand down the shute while the engine is running? I don't but every winter some idiots wind up in the ER having done just that, then some lawyer will argue that the label isn't enough (Have you seen some chutes that have a grate over them that is pushed back by the blown snow?) How far do you have to go to protect people from their own stupidity? In this day and age it doesn't matter. If someone gets hurt someone other than the injured will be blamed. Many chains say "Not certified for overhead lifting". Then they give the tensile strength. Do I use those chains for lifting? Yes. Will I stand under the load when lifted? No. I also lift things under the assumption the load may fall. I do this only for the purposes of keeping people out of harms way. I can replace broken parts etc a lot easier than flesh and blood. (I try and live by the motto "Prepare for the worst and be pleasantly surprised") All I can say is if your someone is not comfortable doing something with a tractor - don't. But lifting with the FEL CAN be done safely and is way too useful a part of the FEL capabilities to forsake.


  6. #6
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: SAFETY WARNING: Using Loader to Lift with Chains

    Glenn, I have to agree with the other guys. There's probably no way the manufacturer could go into enough detail on using chains on a loader safely to cover every situation in which you could hurt yourself, so to protect themselves from liability, it's easier to just say don't do it. And if any owner wants to completely refrain from using chains on his bucket, that's good. But for me, I use them frequently, and know that if I do something to hurt myself, I won't be suing or expecting the manufacturer to pay for it. And if you try to lift something with a chain on your front end loader and the load is not centered on the bucket, I can guarantee you that you can turn the tractor over very easily. I've picked up both rear wheels on occasion, and I've picked up just one rear wheel on occasion. But I'll continue to use my hooks and chains on my front end loader; a calculated risk, and try to be careful enough to not hurt anything.

    Bird

  7. #7

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    Kubota M6800SD/LA1002 Loader Kubota RTV900

    Default Re: SAFETY WARNING: Using Loader to Lift with Chains

    Like the warning label on the cum-a-long say,"Not to be used for lifting!".

    Chains are dangerous and can break or slip and cause problems, but I use them carefully and fully understand the risks. I also have learned from experience on other tractors things like: A cement mixer being carried with a chain from the bucket can smash the grill up pretty bad in about 1/4 second. Be very careful how close you get to things you really didn't want to move. A bucket can move a fence very easily (or a post) and a few other tidbits.

    As usual, the really bad things are when a load is transferred very rapidly (chain slips) or the bucket is high and the slightest incline can tip the tractor. There just are some things you do not do twice (like walk off tall cliffs)![img]/w3tcompact/icons/frown.gif[/img]


  8. #8

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    central Indiana
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    L3010 HST

    Default Re: SAFETY WARNING: Using Loader to Lift with Chains

    I think you can take it two ways. Yes, kubota is covering their rear and there are tractor owners out there that will probably try to do the dumbest things with a loader and chain and hurt or kill themselves and then someone will sue. Like trying to jack up the pickup to change tires with your tractor. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif[/img]

    But I also know that if I hook a chain on something and raise it with the loader that I have to be d#$ careful with what I do. So I will continue to do it. Last time I did this I hooked up my rear blade and set it on the flatbed. Light load, go slow and your fine.

    For instance though, I had my logging chain snap while skidding a large tree and it punched a big hole in my trucks tailgate. I was doing it with the tractor just before and something told me to stop doing that. Thank God, I would rather get a new tailgate like I did instead of having my wife and kids find a headless daddy in the yard. I wasn't even mad when it happened becasue I knew there was a possiblity of the chain breaking. You hear about that all the time. Stupid to pull a tree the way I did but I had to get it down so it would fall on the kids.

    Maybe Kubota and Ford should have placed warning labels on the vehicles so I knew this could have happened! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    Take everything with a grain of salt but also be mighty careful!

    Brad, Kubota L3010HST, loader, R4 tires
    Pictures at http://albums.photopoint.com/j/Album...9207&a=9183978

  9. #9
    Veteran Member gerard's Avatar
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    Default Re: SAFETY WARNING: Using Loader to Lift with Chains

    Good point Brad about the breaking chain. It's hard to believe sometimes that a chain can have that much "elasticity" when it breaks but that isn't the first ime I've heard that. (maybe I should start wearing a football helmut...........


  10. #10
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    Default Re: SAFETY WARNING: Using Loader to Lift with Chains

    Question on related point: Brad, on the Chains vs. Ropes thread two posters related that chains, unlike ropes, will not "fly all over" when they snap. Is that consistent with your snapping experience?


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