Driver-Operator Guide
United States Department of Agriculture
Forest Service
Washington Office Engineering
Driver-Operator Guide
July 2005 (Revised)
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks . . . . . . . . . . 1
OPERATORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Authorized Drivers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Unauthorized Drivers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
OPERATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Safety Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Defensive Driving . . . . . . . . . .
Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Turning Around . . . . . . . . . . . .
Braking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Operation on Hills . . . . . . . . . .
Use of Sirens and Emergency Lights
Trailer Towing . . . . . . . . . . . .
Backing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Parking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Winter Driving . . . . . . . . . . . .
Use of Tire Chains . . . . . . . . . .
Economic Operation . . . . . . . . . .
Fuel Consumption . . . . . . . . . .
Starting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Transmissions . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Loading. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
ACCIDENT REPORTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Operation Checks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Before-Operation Check . . . . . . . . . .
During-Operation Check . . . . . . . . . .
After-Operation Check . . . . . . . . . . .
Routine Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Lubrication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Inspections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Batteries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Tires . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Washing, Cleaning, and Polishing . . . . .
Vehicles Equipped With Radios . . . . . .
Emission-Control Equipment . . . . . . . .
Maintenance Records . . . . . . . . . . . .
Equipment Logbook . . . . . . . . . . . .
Operator’s Preventive Maintenance Check
Long-Term Storage Standards . . . . . . . .
Before Storage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
During Storage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
COMMERCIAL REPAIRS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Chapter 2—Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicles
OPERATORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
OPERATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Safety Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Operating Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . .
Shifting Into and Out of Four-Wheel Drive
Front-Wheel Hub Locks . . . . . . . . . .
Winches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Parking on Hills . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Tire Chains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
MAINTENANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Chapter 3—Fire Suppression Engines
OPERATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Operating Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Safety Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Chapter 4—Heavy Trucks and Buses
OPERATORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
OPERATION . . . . . . . . . .
Safety Rules . . . . . . . . . .
Transporting Personnel . . .
Operating Procedures . . . . .
Use of Gears . . . . . . . .
Tire Care . . . . . . . . . .
Two-Speed Axle . . . . . . .
Special Types of Equipment . .
Dump Trucks . . . . . . . .
Stakeside Trucks . . . . . .
Special Heavy-Duty Vehicles
PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
OPERATORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
OPERATION . . . . . . . . . .
Safety Rules . . . . . . . . . .
Guards and Safety Devices .
Signaling . . . . . . . . . .
Transporting Equipment . . .
Crawler-Tractor Operation . . .
Hitching and Towing . . . . .
Timber Operations. . . . . .
Sidehill Operations . . . . .
Fire Operations . . . . . . .
Terracing Operations . . . .
Endloader and Scraper Operation . .
Endloaders . . . . . . . . . . . .
Scrapers . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Grader Operation . . . . . . . . .
Grader Transport . . . . . . . . .
Shovel and Crane Operation . . .
Placement . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Transporting . . . . . . . . . . . .
Crusher and Compressor Operation .
Crushers. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Compressors . . . . . . . . . . .
Brush-Chipper Operation . . . . .
Operator Responsibility . . .
Lubrication Guide . . . . . .
Adjustments By the Operator
Operational Checks . . . . .
STORAGE . . . . . . . . . . .
Chapter 6—Trail Bikes and All-Terrain Vehicles
OPERATORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
OPERATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Safety Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Operating Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
EQUIPMENT AND MAINTENANCE. . . . . . . . . . . 70
LOADING AND HAULING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Chapter 7—Snow Machines
OPERATORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
OPERATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Safety Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
LOADING AND HAULING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Chapter 8—Garbage Packers
OPERATORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
OPERATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
Safety Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
Operating Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
Chapter 9—Boats
CLASSES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
OPERATORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Training and Licensing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
OPERATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Safety Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Operating Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
BOAT TRAILERING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Exhibit 1—Minimum Equipment Requirements . . . . 87
Exhibit 2—Features of Coast Guard-Approved
Personal Flotation Devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
Authorized Drivers
Vehicles owned or leased by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service shall be
driven only by persons who have qualified according to
the regulations established by the Office of Personnel
Management, USDA, and the USDA Forest Service. A
valid State driver’s license for the size and class of
vehicle being operated is mandatory and must be in the
operator’s possession during operation.
Instructions and procedures governing qualification
requirements for USDA Forest Service motor vehicle
operators are included in Forest Service Manual (FSM)
7134. All personnel who operate motor vehicles owned
or leased by the Government must meet these requirements.
Unauthorized Drivers
Do not allow Government-owned or -leased vehicles to
be driven by unauthorized persons. In cases of accident
or vehicle damage, the authorized driver/operator is
held responsible for the actions of the unauthorized
Operators are required to exercise caution when driving
Government vehicles. Damage such as broken springs
(from speeding on rough roads) or vehicle overloading
and damage to tires, fenders, tie rods, gas tanks, and
axles can usually be avoided. The operator will be held
responsible for abusive use of the vehicle.
The operator is responsible for preventive maintenance
checks before, during, and after operation of the vehicle.
Operators should become thoroughly familiar with the
travel and equipment sections of the Health and Safety
Code Handbook, FSH (Forest Service Handbook)
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
Safety Rules
1. Observe all traffic laws, ordinances, and regulations
of the State or local community in which the vehicle
is operated. Consult the State vehicle code for applicable regulations.
2. Do not carry loose objects, such as tools or instruments, in vehicle passenger compartments unless
passengers are shielded by a mesh divider or other
protective devices. Keep dash and floor clear of
3. Never drive a vehicle when the load or other objects
obscure your view, interfere with your driving, prevent free access to emergency equipment, or prevent free and ready exit from the cab or driving
compartment by any person. Additional information
on securing loads and loose objects, hauling personnel, and so forth, is discussed in chapter 4.
4. Approach all railroad crossings at a speed that
allows for safe stopping.
5. When traveling, maintain an interval of at least 2
seconds. Allow more distance if another vehicle is
following at an improper distance, if road conditions
warrant, or if required by State law.
6. Turn off the engine and two-way radio when any
vehicle or engine is being fueled. Do not smoke
within 50 feet of the vehicle or fuel supply.
7. Turn off two-way radios when passing near a blasting
area or explosives storage area.
8. Pull off the road for a short rest, coffee break, or
change of drivers if you are getting drowsy.
9. Open at least one window to provide interior ventilation when running the motor of a parked vehicle.
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10. Equip every USDA Forest Service vehicle with seat
belts, warning flags/reflectors, chains or traction
devices, and a first aid kit. Use seat belts when
11. Give proper signals before taking any action.
Defensive Driving
Motor vehicle accidents are a major cause of death and
serious injury. Adopt a policy of defensive driving. This
1. Drive to avoid accident situations created by the
mistakes of others or by weather and road conditions.
2. Yield the right-of-way, even when, by all rules of the
road, it may be yours.
3. Watch far ahead for wildlife, livestock, people, or
vehicles moving onto the road or stopping; watch for
highway signs or signals, icy spots, chuckholes, or
a vehicle on the wrong side of the road.
4. When passing, approach the vehicle carefully, ease
in and out of traffic, and allow plenty of passing
5. Make an unbroken series of concessions to other
drivers who are thoughtless, unskilled, or ignorant
of the hazards they create.
1. Be thoroughly familiar with State and local speed
laws; comply with them at all times. Defensive driving
requires driving at a safe speed rather than merely
complying with the posted speed.
2. Drive at a speed that permits full control of the
vehicle, allowing for all road, weather, and traffic
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
3. On curves, be able to stop the vehicle within less
than half of the visible distance.
Thinking and Stopping Distances (Feet)
(Average on a hard-surfaced road)
Mechanical stopping distance
after brakes are applied
20 mph
30 mph
40 mph
50 mph
*Average 3⁄4 second
Turning Around
1. When turning around on mountain roads, always
turn with the back of the vehicle toward the uphill
bank; face danger.
2. Do not turn unless you have a clear view for 200
feet in each direction.
3. Use a helper (if available) who is on the ground and
can see the dangers.
1. Use your engine to assist the brakes. When
brakes are applied, heat is generated and some of
the lining is worn away. If brakes are held continuously, the brake lining may be burned. Save the
brakes by using the engine and transmission to slow
the vehicle. Use the brakes to assist the engine.
However, in doing so, avoid excessive engine revolutions per minute as this will damage the engine.
Think ahead. Begin to slow down early by taking
your foot off the accelerator while leaving the clutch
engaged. Apply the brakes firmly but gradually.
Remember that increasing the load increases the
braking distance. This does not mean that the engine
should be used as a brake by shifting to a lower gear
for normal stops, such as stop signs or traffic lights.
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
2. Be kind to your brakes. When using the foot brake
on hills, take the following precautions to prevent
skidding or overheating the brakes:
• Apply the brakes firmly but not abruptly. Abrupt
application with full force may lock the wheels and
cause the vehicle to slip or skid out of control.
• Apply the brakes at intervals, only as needed.
3. Parking brake. The parking brake is designed to
hold a stopped vehicle stationary. Do not use it to
stop or slow down, except in an emergency. The
foot brake is far more effective and will not crack an
axle or drive shaft. Usually, the parking brake can
be set more effectively by applying the foot brakes
Operation on Hills
It is risky to change gears while climbing or descending
a hill; the safest procedure is to select the proper gear
before starting to climb. However, if it is necessary to go
to a lower gear, make the shift before the engine slows
down to a stalling point.
Do not depend on the brakes alone on steep hills. If the
road is slippery and the vehicle starts to slide when the
brakes are applied, the wheels will lock, causing loss of
control because the operator cannot steer. Use a lower
gear and leave the clutch engaged. This will cause the
driving wheels to turn, engine compression will slow the
vehicle, and the wheels will revolve freely enough to
permit steering control.
1. Uphill. If the engine stalls while climbing a steep
hill and it is necessary to back down, apply the foot
brake, set the parking brake, disengage the clutch,
and shift quickly into reverse. If the vehicle does not
slide or roll, start the engine while the clutch is still
disengaged, and engage the clutch while releasing
the brakes.
If the vehicle slides or rolls while the clutch is disengaged, reengage it immediately after shifting into
reverse, and release the brakes. If the engine does
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
not start turning immediately, use the starter to relieve the strain on the gears. Then back down.
2. Downhill. When approaching a downgrade, first
select a suitable gear. A good rule is to use one
gear lower than would be used for driving up the
same hill. Keep the clutch engaged, the throttle
closed, and the ignition on before the vehicle starts
down. Then observe the following instructions:
• Keep the vehicle under complete control at all
times. Lives may depend on it.
• Reduce speed, if necessary, by liberal use of the
foot brakes.
• Remember that the possibility of losing control
over your speed on descents is greater when the
vehicle is loaded.
• Remember that slower speeds are required when
weather and road conditions are unfavorable.
• Never coast downhill in neutral.
3. Runaway vehicle. If the braking effects of both the
engine and the brakes fail to hold the vehicle and it
starts to run out of control down a hill, the last resort
is to ditch the vehicle by running it off the road—
against a bank if possible—at a gradual angle. This
must be done before the runaway vehicle has gained
too much speed. Prompt ditching of a runaway vehicle can prevent a much more serious accident.
Use of Sirens and Emergency Lights
Sirens and red or blue emergency lights are to be used
only by authorized drivers. These sirens and lights warn
the public of the presence of an emergency vehicle.
Before operating a red or blue light and siren, an employee must pass the necessary examination and have
the qualifications shown on the Equipment Operator’s
Identification Card. Oral permission is not a qualification.
Sirens and red or blue lights will be installed only by
mechanics after the approval of the forest supervisor.
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
All emergency vehicles traveling to fires shall abide by
traffic lights and stop signs, unless escorted by police.
Consult the State vehicle code for further details on the
use of sirens and red or blue lights.
Trailer Towing
All drivers towing trailers must be properly qualified and
authorized. Each forest or unit must have personnel
qualified to train and to authorize drivers for towing
1. Vehicles towing trailers must comply with Federal,
State, and regional requirements regarding size and
weight of towing vehicles. Do not exceed Gross
Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), Gross Combination
Weight Rating (GCWR), or the trailer weight rating.
See FSH 7109.19 to determine safe towing combinations.
2. To provide for breakdowns on the road, all towing
vehicles and trailers shall be equipped with flags or
other suitable signal devices.
3. Trailer houses must be equipped with adequate
signal devices.
4. All trailers must have proper brakes and lights to
meet State and U.S. Department of Transportation
5. All trailers must be equipped with adequate safety
The rearview mirror does not show the area immediately
behind the vehicle. It is essential that a driver look behind
the vehicle before backing or be guided by a helper
standing behind and to the side of the vehicle. The
following safety precautions also should be observed:
1. Close all vehicle doors.
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
2. Back slowly. Be sure there is sufficient clearance
when backing into garages or other narrow places.
3. Avoid long-distance backing.
4. Avoid backing downhill.
5. Turn the vehicle around on dead-end roads before
1. Use chock blocks or other blocking devices when
parking on a grade.
2. Always park well off the pavement or roadway.
3. If it is necessary to park on the road in an emergency,
be sure to place flags, signs with reflectors, or red
lights 200 feet in each direction from the vehicle.
4. Avoid leaving the motor running when a vehicle is
5. Do not park a vehicle over dry vegetation. Exhaust
system temperatures can ignite dry vegetation.
Winter Driving
Skillful driving is especially important under unfavorable
driving conditions. Adverse conditions, such as wet or
icy road surfaces, greatly lengthen stopping distances
and increase driving hazards. Always reduce speed
under such conditions.
Driving in hazardous weather demands special techniques.
1. How to avoid skids:
• Keep speed well below dry-road speed.
• Keep vehicle pulling steadily.
• Make no sudden changes in speed, gears, or
• Avoid driving too fast on curves.
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
• Avoid applying the brakes too suddenly or too
hard. Pump the brakes to slow down.
• Avoid driving too fast for surface conditions.
2. How to get out of a skid. If the vehicle should start to
skid, the following procedures will help you recover:
• Avoid braking. Slamming the brakes when a vehicle
is skidding locks the wheels and causes loss of
traction and steering.
• Turn the front wheels in the direction of the slide.
As the car begins to straighten, straighten the
front wheels.
• Avoid oversteering. Turning the steering wheel too
far whips the rear end into a skid in the opposite
• Avoid lifting your foot from the accelerator suddenly.
Maintain power to driving wheels and slow down.
Use of Tire Chains
Tire chains provide the best traction on snow- or icecovered roads. But there are limits to the help they can
give. Even with chains, you cannot safely drive at dryroad speeds on snow- or ice-covered surfaces. It will
take about twice as long to bring the vehicle to a stop on
ice or packed snow as on a dry road surface, so driving
speed should be cut in half. Tire chains are designed to
move on the tires and should be tightened only by hand.
Reduce speed when using chains to cut down on chain
wear and maintain maximum control over the vehicle.
Economic Operation
Fuel Consumption
Every operator of a Government vehicle should drive
as efficiently as possible to reduce fuel consumption.
Gasoline is wasted by:
1. Excessive speed.
2. Delayed shifting (at 20 mph, second gear uses 20
percent more gas than high gear).
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
3. Needless idling (long periods of idling may overheat the engine and transmission; never leave the
vehicle with the engine running).
4. Incorrect tire pressures.
5. Slipping the clutch to hold the vehicle on hills.
6. Incorrect wheel alignment.
7. Poor engine tuneup.
8. Hauling unnecessary loads.
9. Fast getaways at green lights.
10. Fast speedups and slowdowns.
Improper starting may damage the vehicle.
1. Do not crank the engine excessively. Continued
cranking of the engine discharges the battery rapidly and may shorten its life. Do not keep the starter
engaged for longer than 10 to 15 seconds; you may
damage the starter. Disengage the clutch when using
the starter to reduce the load on the starting motor
and battery. If the engine fails to start after being
turned over several times, check the fuel supply and
ignition system for loose connections and short
circuits. The battery will not start the engine if the
engine is not getting fuel or spark.
2. Do not race a cold engine. Warm the engine with the
throttle partly open. Start the vehicle moving as soon
as the engine runs smoothly. Drive slowly, avoid hard
pulls, and do not lug the engine. Continue driving at
reduced speed until the engine temperature gauge
reaches the normal position.
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
Automatic and standard transmissions are handled
differently. Old habits may interfere with proper driving
when changing from one kind of transmission to another. The danger is even greater when changing from
automatic to standard transmission. Be sure new drivers
have driven vehicles with clutches and gearshift levers
before authorizing them to operate these vehicles.
1. Standard transmission. Do not “ride” the clutch.
Keep your foot off the clutch except when starting,
stopping, or shifting. Even a slight continued pressure on the clutch pedal wears out the clutch facings
and release bearings. For the same reason, when
stopped on a hill, never slip the clutch to prevent the
vehicle from rolling back. Use the brakes instead.
2. Automatic transmission. When using a vehicle
with automatic transmission:
• Understand the position of the selector lever. Make
sure the lever is in the correct position for starting.
• Shift to a lower range when descending steep
• Always slow the vehicle with the brakes before
shifting to low range on wet or slippery surfaces.
Use short strokes on the brakes. Shifting to low
range at high speed will cause the vehicle to skid
or swerve and could damage the transmission.
• Hold your right foot on the brake pedal during
traffic stops to prevent creeping.
• Never coast in neutral.
• Use your right foot on the brake pedal.
• Always have the car completely stopped before
moving the control into the park position.
• Do not push or tow a vehicle with automatic transmission to start the engine. Newer vehicles are not
designed to start by pushing or towing. If an engine
fails to start because of a discharged battery, use
a booster battery and jumper cables to start it.
• If it is necessary to tow an automatic transmission
vehicle a long distance for repair, tow it with only
the nonpowered wheels on the ground or, on
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
vehicles with rear-wheel drive, disconnect the drive
• Place the selector lever in the neutral position
when the vehicle is being towed.
• Be sure to check the oil level in the transmission
according to the lubrication guide.
• Select the proper Drive position.
1. Never drive a vehicle with an improperly distributed or secured load. Study the State vehicle code
and U.S. Department of Transportation regulations
for safe loading and binding requirements. Vehicle
loading is outlined in FSH 7109.19, chapter 30.
Chapter 4 of this guide contains additional information on loading.
2. Never drive an overloaded vehicle. Overloading
can reduce vehicle performance and cause structural
failures. It also may lead to increased maintenance
requirements. Load limits for each type of vehicle are
set by regulation and manufacturer’s recommendations to comply with safety rules and maintenance
requirements. Limits are posted in the logbook or in
a conspicuous place in the vehicle. Do not exceed
these limits. Operators may be held liable for accidents or equipment damage caused by overloading.
If a citation is issued, the driver is responsible.
All accidents, property damage, and injury are to be
reported. A detailed report must be made when a
Government vehicle is involved in an accident with a
private vehicle or other private property, regardless of
how minor the damage may be. This report must be
forwarded through the proper channels to the regional
forester. The same report is required if only Government
property is involved. Comply with all laws of the State
in which the accident occurred.
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
When private property is involved, do not make any
commitments or sign or make any statements to anyone
other than the ranger, forest supervisor, or authorized
USDA Forest Service investigator.
Sometimes when private property is not involved and
damage to Government property is minor, accidents
can be handled by administrators at the local level.
However, the driver cannot make this decision.
Every accident, regardless of the extent of damage,
must be reported by the driver to the immediate supervisor, who will decide what action to take. Form SF-91,
Operator’s Report of Motor Vehicle Accident, provided
in all Government vehicles, is used to report accidents.
Preventive maintenance is the systematic care, servicing, and inspection of equipment to keep it in good
operating condition and to detect and correct mechanical
The driver is the single most important factor in preventive maintenance. Use equipment as it is intended to be
used. Perform daily and other scheduled services as
recommended by the manufacturer, region, and forest.
Operating conditions may require more frequent service.
Operation Checks
Before-Operation Check
Each operator shall ensure that the vehicle is in mechanically safe condition by visually checking the following:
1. Tires—for inflation, cuts, breaks, and excessive or
uneven wear
2. Leaks—fuel, oil, water, transmission and axle lubricants
3. Crankcase oil level—adequate
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
4. Coolant level in radiator—adequate
5. Lights and signal devices—operating properly
6. All glass (including rear window and light lenses)—
clean and unbroken
7. Mirrors—properly adjusted, clean, and unbroken
8. Fuel supply—adequate
9. Horn—operational
10. Brakes—adjusted and functional
11. First aid kit, chains, and tire-changing tools—available
and adequate
12. Steering—normal free play
13. Equipment logbook—up to date and properly recorded
14. Battery—clean terminals and adequate water level
15. Windshield wipers—operational and blades in good
condition; proper washer fluid
16. Body—dents or other damage
17. License plates—present on the vehicle
During-Operation Check
Some vehicle defects can be detected only while the
vehicle is operating. An accident or serious damage
can be avoided by keeping constantly alert for signs of
defects, such as unusual noises or vibrations, and taking
immediate corrective action. Major items to check include:
1. Foot and parking brakes for proper operation and
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
2. Clutch for free-travel adjustment, slippage, and
3. Transmission for noise and proper shifting
4. Transfer case for proper gear selection, noise, and
proper shifting
5. Engine and controls for unusual noises, proper
response, exhaust system leakage or noises, and
visual checks for water, oil, and fuel leaks
6. All instruments for functioning within proper ranges
7. Steering gear for looseness, slack, wear, and pull to
the left or right
8. Differential for unusual noise in the power train
9. Body for loose components and rattles
After-Operation Check
This check is intended primarily to correct any deficiencies found in the during-operation check. Report any
malfunctions or needed repairs to your work supervisor.
Where vehicles are on emergency use, the before-operation check should be made at the end of a trip to ensure
that the vehicle is ready for emergency use.
Routine Maintenance
The responsibility of a driver does not end with the
proficient operation of the vehicle. The driver must
ensure that the vehicle is properly maintained and that
it is ready to go at all times.
Lubricating the vehicle at the proper intervals is one of
the most important preventive maintenance jobs. The
intervals for lubrication and oil changes for each vehicle
are established by regulation and the manufacturer’s
service standards.
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
The driver is responsible for ensuring that the vehicle is
lubricated in accordance with manufacturer’s service
intervals, as well as regional and specific forest standards. When operation involves abnormal conditions,
such as snow, water, and dust, more frequent lubrication
is required. Operators should check with their supervisors when such circumstances arise.
Emergencies, such as fires and floods, are the only
acceptable reasons for extending lubrication intervals.
These emergencies should be noted in the maintenance
record, and the vehicle should be lubricated at the earliest possible opportunity.
When the vehicle is lubricated commercially, the driver
must make a spot check of the finished job to see that it
was done correctly and that the billing is accurate.
When a unit is provided with a reminder card or plate,
the driver is to post due dates of required services. The
driver is also responsible for maintaining a record of this
service using form FS 7100-2, Equipment Maintenance
Inspections determine maintenance needs and compliance with standards. They also identify appropriate
times to take action for maximum efficiency, safety, and
economy. Three kinds of inspections are necessary for
satisfactory results: daily, monthly, and mechanical. The
equipment operator performs the first two inspections
and a qualified mechanic performs the third inspection.
1. Daily inspection. Drivers or operators are responsible for performance of the daily inspections as
outlined in this guide.
2. Monthly inspection. The driver, operator, or individual assigned responsibility for the vehicle/equipment is responsible for the monthly inspection, which
is performed and recorded using form FS 7100-9,
Driver’s Safety and Preventive Maintenance
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
3. Mechanical inspection. All fleet equipment owned
or leased by the USDA Forest Service shall receive
a periodic safety inspection performed by a journeyman-level mechanic. In the absence of other State
requirements, minimum frequency is once every
year. Regions, stations, or forests, may require more
frequent inspections. Drivers-operators are responsible for seeing that mechanical inspections are
performed on time.
For extended battery life and safety, observe the following
1. Proper care of batteries. Batteries require attention
to give satisfactory service.
• Check and maintain the proper electrolyte or water
level. Do this every 2 weeks—every week during
periods of high temperatures or continuous heavy
battery use. Do not overfill. (This does not apply
to maintenance-free batteries.)
• Keep the battery tight in the carrier case and terminals clean at all times. Baking soda may be
used to remove corrosion around terminals.
• Keep batteries charged at all times.
• Never use the starter for more than 10 seconds at
a time. Allow the battery to rest between starts
after extended use of the starter motor.
• Prevent batteries from freezing by keeping them
charged when they are not being used.
• Store batteries on wood; never store them on a
concrete floor.
• Keep batteries cool.
• When a battery has been discharged, recharge it
according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
2. Use of booster batteries. Booster starting of a
battery can be dangerous. When the water level is
low, there is extra space for hydrogen gas to be
trapped. The slightest spark can cause an explosion.
Always use batteries of equal voltage and follow
these safety steps:
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
When using jumper cables, remove cell caps from
both batteries. Leave them off during the process to
let hydrogen gas vent.
• Connect one cable to ungrounded terminal of the
weak battery.
• Keep the other end of the cable from touching
either vehicle until it is connected to the terminal of
the same polarity on the stronger battery. (Positive
to positive or negative to negative.)
• Connect second cable to other terminal of stronger
• Important final step: Connect remaining cable to
vehicle frame or starter ground below the level of
the weak battery. This reduces the risk that sparks
might cause an explosion.
1. Care and maintenance. Check tires for proper
inflation at least once a week. Check tires of vehicles
hauling heavy loads and on long hauls daily and
adjust inflation if necessary.
Recommended pressures are shown on tire sidewalls. Adjust tire pressure the first thing in the
morning or when the tires are cold. Do not, under
any circumstances, remove air from tires after sustained running or when the tires are warm.
Overloading tires greatly shortens their life; avoid it.
Inspect tires visually during the preventive inspection
and take steps to correct anything that causes unusual wear. Some examples of improper wear and
their causes include:
Improper Wear and Probable Cause
Type of wear
Probable cause
Small, flat spots every
few inches
Wobbly wheels or loose wheel
Excessive wear on
edges of tread
Excessive wear on
center of tread
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
Improper Wear and Probable Cause (continued)
Type of wear
Probable cause
Excessive wear on one
edge of tread
Too much camber or caster;
sprung axle
Two flat spots
diametrically opposite
Eccentric brake drums
Excessive wear on
one tire
Dragging or seizing brake
Feather edge or sharp
corner on either edge
of front tires
Too much toe in or toe out; bent
tie rod
Rotating tires every 4,000 miles can extend tire life
by as much as 20 percent. Include spare tires in the
rotation cycle.
2. Recapping. Under no circumstances should tires
be worn beyond the point of recapping, that is, to the
wear bar strip. Tires that are worn down to a faint
tread line should be inspected in shops by qualified
personnel and recapped for further use.
Washing, Cleaning, and Polishing
Intervals for washing and cleaning will be determined by
the conditions under which the vehicle is operated. A
good mechanical or safety inspection cannot be made if
the vehicle is dirty. Operators should clean their vehicles
before each preventive inspection and as often between
inspections as necessary to have the vehicle reflect
credit on the USDA Forest Service by its appearance.
Steam cleaning and pressure washing should be done
by qualified mechanics. Polishing is optional. Polish
reduces the frequency of need for cleaning and lessens
paint oxidation.
Vehicles Equipped With Radios
Vehicles equipped with two-way radios and radio telephones require special care.
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
1. Radios must be installed by qualified radio technicians.
2. Keep the batteries filled and clean in vehicles
equipped with radios.
3. Keep the generator and alternator, alternator belt,
and regulator in good condition.
4. Start the vehicle and keep the battery charged
when using the radio for extended periods of time.
Continued heavy use of the radio rapidly discharges
the battery.
5. Turn off two-way radios when near a blasting area
or construction job.
Emission-Control Equipment
The emission-control equipment installed by the vehicle
manufacturer to meet Federal and State requirements
must be maintained properly. The operator is responsible
for making sure such items as air pumps, PCV valves
and tubing, distributor advance and retarding mechanisms, and other related components are checked by a
mechanic when the vehicle is serviced. There is no
acceptable reason for removing or tampering with any
emission control equipment.
Maintenance Records
Equipment Logbook
This logbook contains certain records that are pertinent
to the operation and maintenance of the equipment.
Some of these records may be optional in some regions
and stations. Equipment logbooks should contain use
records, service records, operator safety and preventive
maintenance inspections, and equipment identification.
Operator’s Preventive Maintenance Check
Performance of this check is the direct responsibility of
the driver or operator. While forest supervisors may
permit delegation of this operator check, the responsibility for seeing that it is done correctly and that malfunctions are corrected rests with the operator.
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
Normally, inspections will be made once each month
when the equipment is being used. Retain a copy of
the last inspection in the equipment logbook. Use the
regional form for this inspection. The driver must initial
and enter the inspection in column 9 of the unit service
record. Note the correction of any deficiencies on this
Long-Term Storage Standards
Before Storage
1. Clean the engine thoroughly and wash the unit.
2. Lubricate.
3. Fill the fuel tank.
4. Drain the crankcase and refill it with new oil.
5. Check the cooling system antifreeze for the lowest
expected temperature; add additional antifreeze as
needed. Check all hoses and hose connections. If
the cooling system is to be drained, be sure that the
radiator, engine block, water pump, and heater are
drained completely. Tie a warning tag marked Cooling
System Drained to the steering wheel.
6. Remove the air cleaner, start the engine, run it at a
fast idle, and pour a half pint of oil through the carburetor air intake until the engine stops.
7. Clean, replace, and tighten the air cleaner.
8. Remove the battery. Clean and store it on a wooden
base in a dry, frostproof place. Clean the cable
terminals and battery carrier with a soda solution,
and rinse them with clean water.
9. Block up the axles to take the weight off pneumatic
Chapter 1—Cars and Light Trucks
During Storage
1. Leave air vents in the open position.
2. Leave the door window open about 1⁄2 inch.
3. Store under cover if possible.
When commercial repairs are required, coordinate
repairs with local or forest fleet manager.
1. Before authorizing any major repairs, check with the
nearest USDA Forest Service shop or forest fleet
manager for permission to make the repairs.
2. Describe the work to be performed when known
beforehand, or describe the nature of mechanical
deficiencies. Avoid vague orders, such as “Fix it up,”
which leave the job entirely to the discretion of the
party performing the work.
3. Inspect the work performed for satisfactory quality
and to determine whether corrections are needed.
Test the vehicle, when applicable, to ensure that the
deficiency has been corrected.
4. Satisfy yourself that the cost of the work performed
is reasonable. If the work is unsatisfactory, have the
garage do it again and stand behind its work. Do
not pay two or more repair shops for the same job.
Avoid unreliable repair shops.
Chapter 2—Four-Wheel-Drive
Four-wheel-drive vehicles are designed to provide extra
power and traction for traveling at a slow speed over
rough or unusual terrain. Accidents and the high cost of
operating four-wheel-drive vehicles are, in most cases,
caused by abusive use or expecting the four-wheel
drive to do the impossible. This chapter is intended to
highlight safe, economical ways to get the most out of
these vehicles.
Drivers operating four-wheel-drive vehicles must be
thoroughly trained and qualified (chapter 1, Authorized
The same general safe driving practices for standard
vehicles apply to four-wheel-drive vehicles (chapter 1,
Safety Rules).
Four-wheel drive should be used only when greater
traction and power are required than can be provided
by a standard transmission in low gear. Use it in steep
off-road operations, in snow or on icy roads, in mud or
sand, or other conditions that require extra traction to
travel at slow speed.
The gear train will be placed under stress when vehicles
are driven on surfaced roads with four-wheel drive
engaged. This causes difficulty in shifting out of fourwheel drive. To relieve this stress, back up a few feet or
drive off the surfaced road. This will allow the wheels to
Safety Rules
1. Four-wheel-drive vehicles usually do not perform as
well on surfaced roads as conventional-drive vehicles.
However, in most cases, four-wheel-drive vehicles
can be operated up to the legal speed limit on main
paved highways. Speed on unimproved roads should
never exceed the safe limits allowed by terrain and
Chapter 2—Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicles
road conditions. Know the limitations of the vehicle,
especially on hard-packed snow and ice.
2. When descending steep, unsurfaced mountain roads
with heavy loads, proceed with the four-wheel drive
engaged. Place the hubs in the locked position. This
affords double safety in case one axle or drive shaft
should break. It is a good practice to descend a grade
using one gear lower than required to ascend the
same grade.
3. Do not allow the engine revolutions per minute to
exceed the manufacturer’s recommended limits,
particularly when the engine is under compression.
Use a constant steady application of the brakes to
maintain proper speed.
4. Be careful when driving on sidehills. Four-wheeldrive vehicles have a high center of gravity and will
tip more easily than conventional vehicles.
5. Know the limitations of the vehicle and do not exceed
them. Most accidents and breakdowns occur within
that last one-quarter mile that should not have been
6. When operating in rough or brushy terrain, do not
allow anyone to ride outside of the cab; in open jeeps,
drivers must be alert for limbs or brush.
Operating Procedures
Shifting Into and Out of Four-Wheel Drive
For best results, do the following:
1. Review and follow the instructions in the operator’s
manual provided by the manufacturer.
2. A shifting device with position diagram will be
mounted in a conspicuous place in the cab of all fourwheel-drive vehicles. Study the diagram carefully
and practice shifting as directed before driving the
Chapter 2—Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicles
3. If the vehicle is equipped with front hubs, lock them
into position before shifting the transfer case into
four-wheel drive. Most four-wheel-drive vehicles of
current make employ a single-lever control for the
transfer case. The lever engages the front differential.
The lever normally allows the operator to select
four-wheel-drive high, four-wheel low, a two-wheel
high range, and a neutral position for power takeoff
4. The operator can shift from two-wheel high to fourwheel high, or vice versa, while the vehicle is stationary or moving at moderate speeds. If the vehicle is
moving, let up on the accelerator before shifting.
5. To shift from two- or four-wheel high to four-wheel
low, bring the vehicle to a virtual standstill; fourwheel low range should be used only in the most
severe conditions. When shifting out of four-wheel,
low range into two- or four-wheel, high range, the
vehicle should be stopped.
6. Analyze the terrain and select the proper gear before
attempting to travel over difficult terrain. Failure to
do so often results in a vehicle becoming stuck or
damage to the power train.
Front-Wheel Hub Locks
In addition to transfer case gear selections, the front
wheels of some four-wheel-drive vehicles are equipped
with locking hubs. These hubs are provided so that the
front axle can be disengaged when driving in two-wheel
drive. When locking hubs are used properly, the wear
on the front-end gear train is greatly reduced. Unlock
front hubs when appropriate.
Do not force hub locks in or out of the locking position
with makeshift tools; rock the vehicle slightly and the
splines will engage.
Chapter 2—Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicles
Some hubs are manually controlled. Other models
engage and disengage automatically. Be sure to check
the type on the vehicle.
1. Manually controlled hubs—Never shift into fourwheel drive with manual-control hubs in free position—drive train damage could result.
2. Automatic hubs—Automatic hubs will engage when
the transfer case is shifted into four-wheel drive.
When selecting a winch, choose one with a single line
rating at least 11⁄2 times greater than the vehicle weight
rating. This allows the winch to pull the vehicle weight
and overcome the added resistance caused by whatever
the vehicle is stuck in. Never exceed the rated capacity.
Rigging a double line with a snatch block will reduce
the load on winch and cable by about half.
Avoid running a winch cable over rocks or wrapping it
around parts of the vehicle that could cause the cable
to fray or kink during winching. Never put the winch
cable around an object and hook back on the cable.
This will damage the cable.
Never pull at an angle to the load.
Always wear heavy leather gloves when handling
the winch cable.
If a tree is used as a solid anchor for winching, be sure
to use a tree truck protector.
Always drape a blanket or floormat over the middle
of a stretched winch cable to prevent the cable from
whipping back if it breaks or comes loose. A cable
that snaps under stress is extremely dangerous. Its
loose ends can sever a leg or kill a person. All persons
shall stand clear before the winch line is tightened.
Chapter 2—Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicles
When rewinding the cable after use, either drag a weight
until the cable is almost all rewound or use a helper to
hold the cable taut to ensure the cable is distributed
evenly and tightly on the drum. Never allow the cable
to slide through your hands. Do not allow the cable to
stack on the drum unevenly. Hook the cable to the
proper anchor on the truck, and draw it taut. Mashed,
pinched, or frayed areas on the cable severely reduce
its original tensile strength. For safety’s sake, replace
the cable when it is damaged.
1. Power Takeoff (PTO) Winches.
• Check the PTO shift lever plate for the correct
operating positions. Always depress the clutch
pedal of the vehicle (disengaging the clutch) before engaging the power takeoff.
• When the winch is not being used, lock the shift
lever in neutral.
• Never operate the winch above 1,500 engine
revolutions per minute.
• Use the high-speed position of the winch when
pulling light loads and reeling in the cable.
• Pay out cable by disengaging the sliding-jaw clutch
on the winch, then pull the cable out by hand.
Reverse gear may be used for lowering a load.
• PTO winches are provided with shearpins as a
safety precaution to prevent overloading the cable
or winch. The shearpin is located in the yoke of the
universal joint that drives the winch worm-gear
shaft; it is designed to break before the cable or
winch. Never use makeshift pins to replace a
shearpin. Do not depend on the shearpin for
safety—a damaged cable may break before the
pin does.
2. Electric Winches.
• Pull cable off the drum by hand, using the
winch’s clutch to free the spool, rather than using
the winch’s motor to unwind the cable. This saves
time and battery power.
Chapter 2—Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicles
• On hard winch pulls, stop winching every 1 to 2
minutes to prevent the electric motor from overheating. Do not operate the winch with the motor
lugged down to low revolutions per minute because heat could build up rapidly, possibly damaging the motor. Allowing the motor to cool with
intermittent operation will also allow time for the
battery to recharge while the vehicle engine is
• The electric remote control lead should only be
plugged into the winch during actual operation to
prevent accidental operation or injury. When using the remote control lead from inside a vehicle,
always pass the lead through a window to avoid
pinching the lead in the door.
Parking on Hills
When parking a four-wheel-drive vehicle on steep, offhighway grades, remember the following points:
1. Place the vehicle in four-wheel drive low range, and
shift into the lowest gear.
2. Set the parking brake by first engaging the foot
brake and then applying the parking brake.
3. Park at a cross angle to the grade if the grade is not
too steep.
Tire Chains
When tire chains are required, they should be used as
recommended in the owner’s manual. Use tire chains on
all four wheels only under the most severe conditions.
When tire chains are used on all four wheels, excessive
maintenance costs can be expected. The user must be
prepared to justify such use.
Chapter 2—Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicles
1. Always keep the engine oil level at the full mark.
This may require carrying extra oil when operating
over rough, steep terrain. This is necessary to ensure
lubrication when the oil pan is tipped.
2. Check for water in the gearboxes and engine after
fording streams.
3. Because four-wheel-drive vehicles usually are used
under more severe conditions, they must be checked
and lubricated more often than conventional vehicles.
Check the logbook and reminder card or data plate
for lubrication, safety, and mechanical inspection
intervals. Under extreme use where mud, snow, water,
or heavy dust is excessive, it may be necessary to
service the vehicle daily.
4. Mismatched tires will cause early failure of the axle
assemblies and transfer cases and accelerate tire
wear. All tires should be matched to within 1⁄8-inch
circumference. Mismatched tires will result in a windup
of the gear train and can be detected by a lockingup action when attempting to shift out of four-wheel
5. Rotating the tires, including the spare, when wear is
noted, will help keep the tire size as nearly equal as
possible. Never use snow tires, which are normally
larger than standard tires, on rear wheels only. If
snow tires are necessary, they should be used on
all four wheels.
Chapter 3—Fire Suppression
Operating Procedures
1. When taking a fire suppression engine from the
station on an emergency call, be certain that the
warning lights are on before starting. Drive carefully,
and remember that the driver is responsible for the
safety of everyone riding in the truck. The first consideration is to get the personnel and equipment to
the fire in good condition.
2. Although fire engines are classed as emergency
vehicles, they must always be driven in a safe,
responsible manner, and in compliance with all State
laws. Stop signs and traffic lights must be observed.
3. When arriving at a fire, determine quickly where the
truck should be positioned. Place the transmission
in neutral position and set the parking brake. Always
place chock blocks at the front and rear wheels to
prevent the truck from rolling.
4. When returning to the station from an emergency
call, comply with all State and city traffic regulations.
Know the provisions of the Uniform Vehicle Code,
especially the section on emergency vehicles.
5. Tank trucks equipped with sirens and red lights are
governed by instructions in chapter 1, Use of Sirens
and Emergency Lights.
Safety Rules
1. A tired person should not be permitted to drive. On
long drives, the supervisor or other qualified crewmember should periodically relieve the driver.
2. Drive at a safe speed for the road conditions, road
alignment, type of road surfacing, visibility, and
traffic conditions encountered.
Chapter 3—Fire Suppression Engines
3. Use good judgment in braking and know the distance
required to stop the vehicle at different road speeds.
Usually it is a good practice to descend a steep
grade in one gear lower than required to ascend
it—never roll down any grade in neutral. Vehicles
equipped with a two-speed rear differential should
be in low range before descending a hill.
4. Always position the engine so there is a way out. If
the direction of fire spread will endanger the truck,
turn around and head the other way. Keep hose
lines clear of the wheels so the truck can be moved
in an emergency without uncoupling the hose lines.
5. When engines are parked on the road, place warning
signs on the road 200 feet in front of and behind the
engine to warn approaching traffic.
6. In running attacks or when working close to a fire,
always keep one charged hose line ready to protect
the engine.
7. When attacking an extremely intense fire, a second
hose line should be used for backup in case of flarebacks.
8. Do not move the engine ahead of a fire or through
a hot burn without first scouting the area to make
sure it is clear and that retreat is possible.
9. Do not let the engine stand in hot burns or remain
too close to the fire without hose protection to keep
the engine cool. Reflected or radiant heat can soon
raise the temperature in the gasoline tank and cause
large quantities of vapor to be discharged. If the
vapors reach sparks or embers or reach the flashpoint, they can ignite and carry the fire to the gas
10. Use safety cans only for filling the engine with gasoline in the field. Ground the spout to the tank to
reduce the possibility that static discharge will ignite
Chapter 3—Fire Suppression Engines
Engines must be maintained to the highest possible
standards so they are ready to go at all times and so
they will not fail during use. In addition to the standard
lubrication guide and mechanical inspection program
used for all other equipment, special guides are available
to assist in keeping the truck in first-class condition.
Check with your immediate supervisor for such guides.
Check batteries, ignition, and air brake systems regularly.
The standard vehicle checks are: before, during, and
after operation.
Chapter 4—Heavy Trucks and
Only fully qualified personnel shall drive USDA Forest
Service trucks and buses. This qualification must be
listed on the driver’s OF-346, Operator’s Identification
Card, with the maximum size of the vehicle noted. All
drivers must have a physical examination certificate
that meets State and Federal requirements and a valid
State license for the class of vehicle they operate.
1. The operator is responsible for complying with all
local, Federal, and State requirements for loading
and hauling.
2. Obtain required State and local permits for overweight, overheight, and overwidth loads.
3. Ensure that the overall length of the vehicle and the
load is in accordance with local and State regulations.
Safety Rules
Follow the general safety practices and inspection procedures described in chapter 1. Additional guidance
1. On a vehicle with air brakes, follow the procedures
below to detect problems before new brakes are
• Check the slack adjustment on S-Cam brakes.
• Check the brake drums, linings, and hoses.
• Test the low air-pressure warning signal.
• Check to see that the spring brakes come on automatically.
• Check the rate of air pressure buildup.
• Test the air leakage rate.
• Check the air compressor governor cutout pressure.
• Test the parking brake and service the brakes.
Chapter 4—Heavy Trucks and Buses
• Check the safety relief valve, and bleed off the
condensation from the air tanks unless the system
has automatic drain valves.
• Check the manufacturer’s and commercial driver’s
license (CDL) brake test requirements and specifications.
2. Obey established State and local speed limits. Adjust
your speed according to driving conditions. You
should always be able to stop within less than half
the distance you can see ahead. The rule is that you
need 1 second of following interval for each 10 miles
per hour, up to 40 miles per hour and an additional
second for reaction time. Speeds greater than 40
miles per hour require 5 seconds following distance.
Allow 2 seconds and an additional second for every
10 miles per hour over 20 miles per hour, up to 5
seconds for trucks over 18,000 GVWR.
3. Ensure that the load hauled on a truck or a trucktrailer is properly balanced and secured. If required,
ensure that it is covered.
4. Ensure that the vehicle is equipped with the following:
• Lights, reflectors, and markers. Ensure that lights,
reflectors, and markers comply with State vehicle
code requirements.
• Flares or other authorized warning devices. Flares
or fusees can be dangerous at an accident scene
because they can set fire to leaking fuel. Safety
officials recommend using reflective triangle devices
instead of flares or fusees, if possible.
• Chock blocks. All heavy trucks should be equipped
with chock blocks.
5. After 8 continuous offduty hours, operators may drive
for 10 hours. They must be off duty for another 8-hour
period before driving again. The 10 hours of driving
must be accomplished within the first 15 hours on
duty. After that, even if no driving occurred during that
onduty time, the operator cannot drive until having
had 8 hours of rest. Hours may be more restrictive
for fire suppression activities.
Chapter 4—Heavy Trucks and Buses
Transporting Personnel
1. All vehicles used for transporting personnel shall
• A seat belt for the driver’s seat.
• Seats properly anchored to the vehicle.
• Sufficient steps for loading and unloading.
2. Personnel and tools or supplies shall be transported
together only:
• When tools are enclosed in a substantial toolbox
that is attached to the vehicle and equipped with a
securely fastened cover.
• In emergencies, with tools wrapped in canvas or
other material and lashed to the vehicle.
3. Passengers shall not be permitted to ride on top of
any load.
4. Passengers shall not ride in a passenger vehicle
that is carrying explosives, toxic materials, or flammable substances. Gasoline in U.S. Department of
Transportation-approved 2-gallon safety cans that
are adequately secured may be carried with passengers.
5. The driver or person in charge shall be sure that
everyone is seated and supervised while the vehicle
is in motion.
6. Do not overload or crowd personnel in a vehicle.
7. Passengers shall ride only in the cab of a motor
vehicle. This means:
• Each passenger shall have an approved seat
• Arms and legs must not extend outside the vehicle
• Passengers must be seated while the vehicle is in
• No one is permitted to ride on the hood, fender, or
running board.
Chapter 4—Heavy Trucks and Buses
• Riders may stand behind the driver’s seat, but may
not stand farther forward than the rear of the driver’s
8. Avoid fueling a vehicle with passengers inside unless
absolutely necessary. Never refuel in a closed building
with passengers inside.
Operating Procedures
Use of Gears
1. Operators must be thoroughly familiar with the use
of gears for descending hills. Be in the correct gear
before starting down the hill. Use a lower gear for
going down the hill than would be required to go up
the hill. Vehicles equipped with a two-speed rear
differential should be in low range before descending
a hill.
2. To avoid changing gears while climbing a hill, select
the proper gear before beginning to climb.
3. If it is necessary to shift while climbing, do so before
the motor lugs down.
4. If the vehicle stalls and must be backed downhill,
shift into reverse gear.
5. Do not coast in neutral or by depressing the clutch.
Tire Care
Vehicles must not be driven with rocks lodged between
the duals. Avoid running over or sideswiping rocks and
other objects that will damage tires. Check tire wear. You
need at least 4⁄32-inch tread depth in every major groove
on the front wheels and 2⁄32 inch on all other wheels.
Fabric should not show through the tread or sidewall.
Regrooved tires on the steering axle are prohibited.
Recapped or retreaded tires are prohibited on the steering axle of buses, but are permitted on other kinds of
Chapter 4—Heavy Trucks and Buses
Two-Speed Axle
When a truck or bus is equipped with a two-speed rear
axle, the driver must be trained in its use to ensure
maximum efficiency and safety. Follow the instructions
located on the dash or in the operator’s manual. Avoid
clashing gears.
Special Types of Equipment
Dump Trucks
1. When working on a truck with the bed raised, securely block the bed in position.
When it is necessary to lower a load, do so with
extreme caution to avoid damage to the hoist’s
pump or truck frame. Such damage can be avoided
by slowly releasing the hoist control until the bed
starts creeping downward. Maintain this position until
the bed is completely down.
3. When combination dump and stake beds are being
used as dump trucks, take special care to avoid
4. Center the load over the rear axle.
5. Disengage the power takeoff when it is not being
6. Ensure that the hoist control mechanism cannot be
accidentally engaged when hauling.
7. Always get out of the truck and stand clear when
the truck is being loaded by a swing-boom loader
that swings over the cab.
8. Only dump truck drivers or dump bosses shall trip
the tailgate.
Stakeside Trucks
1. Maintain all racks, tailgates, and steps in good condition.
Chapter 4—Heavy Trucks and Buses
2. Take extra caution when hauling horses, cattle, or
any other live cargo.
3. Check the load at least once each hour to ensure
that it has not shifted and that the binders are tight.
Special Heavy-Duty Vehicles
Transports weighing more than 26,001 pounds GVW
require special skills to operate.
1. Federal, State, and local regulations for securing
the load, weight limits, and truck routes vary greatly.
Know the regulations for the areas in which you will
be driving.
2. On flatbed trucks and trailers without sides, tiedowns
are required to keep cargo secure. The combined
strength of all cargo tiedowns must be strong enough
to lift 11⁄2 times the weight of the piece of cargo that
is tied down. Cargo should have at least one tiedown
for each 10 feet of cargo.
3. When transporting a unit equipped with a turbocharged engine, seal the intake and exhaust ports
to prevent possible turbocharger damage.
1. Preventive maintenance is covered in chapter 1,
Preventive Maintenance. All drivers must be fully
familiar with that material before operating any vehicle.
2. Preventive maintenance and safety checks must be
made as directed by form FS 7100-9. All drivers must
be familiar with the purpose and use of that form.
3. Special attachments, such as hoists and winches,
must be checked as part of a form FS 7100-9 check
to ensure that they are being properly maintained.
Chapter 4—Heavy Trucks and Buses
4. Different makes and models of vehicles require
different kinds of lubrication. Every vehicle has a
maintenance manual and lubrication guide that gives
the details for proper lubrication of that vehicle.
Drivers should study these details carefully.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
Only qualified heavy equipment operators shall be
permitted to operate heavy equipment. The qualification
shall show on the operator’s OF-346, Operator’s Identification Card. Trainees shall operate heavy equipment
only under the immediate supervision of a skilled and
certified operator. For proper licensing, an employee
must be recommended for licensing by the employee’s
supervisor to a Certified Heavy Equipment License
Know the equipment, its capabilities, and its limitations.
Always operate the equipment properly for safety and
maximum efficiency.
1. Before operating an unfamiliar piece of equipment,
read the operator’s manual. Do not assume that one
piece of equipment will work exactly like a similar
piece of equipment. For example, a Case 680H and
a Cat 435 are both backhoes, but they are operated
differently. Always read the operator’s manual
provided by the manufacturer.
2. Before operation, appraise the job and decide how
the machine may best be used to accomplish the
3. After the equipment has been started and all visual
warnings have been released, operate the equipment
under light loading. When normal temperatures are
reached and proper operation checks are completed
on all attached components, proceed with normal
4. Let the engine idle for 5 minutes before turning it off.
This permits it to cool down gradually, which is especially important for turbocharged engines.
5. Select the proper gears to do the job and minimize
engine lugging. Avoid clashing gears when shifting.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
6. When operating over rough or rocky ground, use the
lowest gear and idle the engine down.
7. Make proper blade adjustments before starting operation and check the condition of the cutting edges
8. Change the blade adjustments as necessary after
making an experimental pass or two on the material
you are working.
9. For the most efficient use of equipment, always
readjust the blade when the material changes.
10. Never operate equipment with your feet resting on
the brakes or clutch. (Place your feet on the pedals
only when necessary.)
11. Repair cracks or breaks immediately. Do not allow
them to deteriorate beyond repair.
12. To prevent equipment parked overnight and on weekends from being pilfered, park in a nearby secured
area, or park out of sight of the public. Always protect
equipment from vandalism.
Safety Rules
When machinery or equipment, including that under
contract, is received, remodeled, or repaired, it shall be
inspected for safe operating condition by a qualified
person before it is turned over to the operator.
1. Do not operate defective or unsafe equipment. “Red
tag” it for repair.
2. Investigate and correct hazards before moving machines into operating positions. Machines shall be
located and operated in areas where operators will
not be endangered by blasts, cave-ins, or other
hazards. Operators shall move machines into blasting
areas only after being instructed to do so by the
person in charge.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
3. Stop all engines before refueling.
4. When the fuel tank is being filled, keep the funnel or
container in contact with the tank to avoid the possibility that a spark of static electricity might ignite the
5. When changing operators, the person in charge shall
discuss the plan of work, existing hazards, hand
signals, and other safety aspects of the job with the
new operator and crew.
6. When not in use, any machines with parts that raise
and lower, such as shovels, buckets, dozer blades,
and skid loaders, shall be left with those parts resting
on the ground.
7. Provide additional fire extinguishers for machines
that may cause fires, such as asphalt distributors.
8. Do not stand directly in front of, or in back of, a selfpropelled machine being started by another person.
9. Do not attempt to start a piece of equipment while
standing on the ground beside it.
10. Do not go under or into dangerous places around
equipment without notifying the operator and being
on the lookout for hazards.
11. Do not get on or off of moving equipment.
12. Operate only the equipment that you are qualified
and certified to operate.
13. Provide ample clearance for a person between any
solid material and the tail swing of a dragline, shovel,
or crane.
14. Use a sound-level meter to check all equipment for
excessive noise levels. If noise exceeds 85 decibels,
provide the operator with hearing protection, which
must be worn.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
15. Keep cables in good repair and spooled properly.
All cable fittings shall be positioned properly and
16. Make a thorough preventive maintenance check at
the beginning of each job.
17. Have a journey-level mechanic inspect all equipment
18. Suspend all crawler-tractor operations during storms
and continue the suspension until good traction is
Guards and Safety Devices
1. Guards shall be supplied with all gears, sprockets,
driver belt or chains, pulleys, drums, fans, or other
hazardous moving parts.
2. Guards shall not be removed or made ineffective,
except while making repairs.
3. Power for machines shall be shut off until repairs
are made and guards are replaced.
4. Operating platforms surfaced with nonskid material,
footwalks, ladders, steps, handholds, guardrails, and
toeboards necessary for safe operation shall be
installed before a machine is operated.
5. Suitable protection against falling objects, swinging
loads, and similar hazards shall be provided for all
6. Safety glass or a Lexan-type material shall be used
in enclosed cabs.
1. A competent flag person shall be posted at dangerous or congested points, near crews, and near blind
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
2. Only one person shall give signals.
3. The correct use of hand signals shall be observed.
Ensure that signals and instructions are clearly understood.
4. The flag person shall get as close to the operator as
safety permits so that the operator can clearly see
signal movements.
5. All signal motions shall be large enough to be understood by the operator. Repeat signal motions frequently.
6. When a slow pull or easy move is wanted, the signal
motions shall be made at a slow tempo; signal motions
shall be faster for fast pulls or moves.
7. The following signals shall be observed when directing drivers of vehicular or construction equipment,
except when standard industrial specialized signals
are agreed upon and understood in advance (Health
and Safety Code Handbook)
• Come ahead: Wave your arm in front of your body,
from your waist to your arm’s length above your
• Reverse or back up: Move your arm in a full circle
in front of your body.
• Turn: Move your arm on the side of your body from
your hip to your shoulder.
• Slack up: Position one arm in front of you with
your hand moving up and down.
• Raise: Raise one hand, palm up.
• Lower: Lower one hand, palm down.
• Stop: Swing your arm back and forth (horizontally)
in front of your body at your waist.
• Caution: Wave your arm in a half circle over your
Transporting Equipment
1. Before moving heavy machinery, check the travel
route for hazards, such as overhead and side clearance, culverts and bridges, and overhead lines.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
2. Know the load weight, width, and height; obtain all
State and local permits; and comply with all requirements.
3. Never haul a piece of equipment on a truck or trailer
with a false bottom.
4. Block heavy equipment sidewise and lengthwise on
truck beds. Bind the equipment securely to the truck
or trailer bed, both front and rear or on each side,
with chain or cable, and tighten with load binders.
Chains used as a component of a tiedown assembly
must conform to the requirements of the most recent
edition of the National Association of Chain Manufacturer’s welded and weldless chain specification
applicable to all types of chain and must match load
requirements. The load binders must be as strong
or stronger than the tiedown assembly.
5. Angle or remove tractor blades or secure a special
permit to comply with State laws pertaining to the
width of the load.
6. Do not leave loose tires, planks, or other material on
moving equipment.
Crawler-Tractor Operation
1. Injuries from crawler-tractor operation are usually
serious, often fatal. Practice defensive operation at
all times. This means:
• Understand the equipment and its limitations.
Accept competent advice.
• Always keep accident prevention in mind.
• Avoid doubtful or spectacular operations.
• Allow apprentices to operate a crawler-tractor only
under the immediate supervision of a skilled operator.
2. Do not operate a crawler-tractor if any part of the
control, hoist, or hydraulic system, including the
steering and brakes, is not in safe operating condition.
Notify the supervisor or mechanic if a crawler-tractor
is unsafe.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
3. Before starting the engine of a direct-drive crawlertractor, put the transmission in neutral, disengage
the master clutch, and keep the blade down. For a
power-shift transmission, place the transmission
gearshift lever in neutral and lock it by placing the
safety control in the on position.
4. Keep clear of a crawler-tractor that is moving. To
stop the operator, signal from a safe distance.
5. When stopped and the engine of a direct-drive
crawler-tractor is idling, put the transmission in
neutral and engage the master clutch so the tractor
cannot be jarred into gear. When motion is stopped
and the engine of a power-shift type crawler-tractor
is idling, apply the foot brake and lock in the safety
control lever.
6. On a direct-drive crawler-tractor, gently engage the
master clutch, especially when going up a hill or
pulling out of a ditch. On a power-shift crawler-tractor,
select the proper gear and adjust the speed control
lever for additional power.
7. Always study the ground to be traveled and the job
to be done. If you cannot see the ground clearly from
the driver’s seat, dismount and examine it before
proceeding, unless a spotter is available for guidance.
Avoid setups for upsets.
8. Always be especially careful around overhanging
rocks, on rock slides, and near dead trees.
9. Only a trainee or mechanic engaged in actual repair
is permitted to ride on the seat with the operator, and
then only if the slope is less than 30 percent. Exceptions may be made only during fire emergencies.
10. Handholds to assist the operator when mounting
and dismounting should be installed and maintained
as necessary.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
11. A heavy mesh screen should be installed on the rear
of the cab protector between the operator and the
rear-mounted towing winch, to protect the operator’s
12. Know the location of all persons nearby.
13. Use extreme caution while going over obstacles
when headed downhill. Be sure the slope is safe.
Use caution when steering downgrade on steep
14. Observe the safe limits of crawler-tractor operation
on side slopes. Small narrow-gauge crawler-tractors
are more dangerous than wide-gauge equipment.
15. Reduce speed before making any turn or applying
the brakes. When the speed of a crawler-tractor is
doubled, the danger of overturning is increased four
16. When on steep side slopes, take the following precautions:
• Do not run over obstacles with the upper track or
• Keep off solid rock faces.
• Have the transmission in gear when the crawlertractor is going down steep grades; use the blade
as a brake.
• Usually, lock the uphill track and immediately turn
the machine if the crawler-tractor slides sideways.
• Make turns so that the operator is on the uphill
side if possible.
17. Lower the dozer blade whenever the operator dismounts.
18. Do not get under an unblocked, raised blade for any
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
19. When dozing downhill or over embankments, it is
best to doze several loads to the edge of the hill and
push the loads in one pass.
Hitching and Towing
1. Do not ride on the drawbar, dozer blade, frame, or
2. Use a bar or stick to steer the coupling bar into
drawbar jaws.
3. When the towing winch is in operation, keep hands
away from the cable and working parts.
4. Look behind before backing up to slack the chain or
cable. Do not take up slack in the chain or cable with
a jerk.
5. When towline is being hooked to the front pull hook,
rest the blade on the line on soft ground or on a
block or rock; then the worker can climb over the
blade to attach the line.
6. Hookers and other people directing or assisting on
the ground shall stand clear of all chains and lines
and shall stay away from the crawler-tractor for at
least the length of the towline.
7. When working near an electric powerline, the length
of the cable attached to the load shall be at least 10
feet shorter than the distance from the tractor to the
powerline so that the cable cannot strike the line.
8. Operate the crawler-tractor so that it does not nose
up or tip when pulling a heavy load upgrade or slide
sideways when pulling around a sidehill.
9. In most cases, the crawler-tractor should be stopped,
taken out of gear, and the brake set before the load
is released.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
10. After each work shift or after each hard haul, the
crawler-tractor operator and towline setter shall
inspect the equipment, including rope and eye splices
on the winch, choker eye splices, and ferrules.
11. Avoid sharp turns when pulling draft equipment
such as carryalls or rippers. Do not “two-block” the
Timber Operations
1. Crawler-tractors used in dangerous, timbered country
or in places where there is danger of falling objects,
shall be equipped with protective canopies and an
approved rollover protective structure (ROPS), including front (logging) sweeps and side screens that
will protect the operator.
2. Look for hazards, such as dangerous snags, green
trees, and trees uprooted while piling brush.
3. Before operating alone, crawler-tractor operators
shall be skilled in pushing over trees. Never run the
crawler-tractor into a tree and try to knock it over by
speed and force. When felling trees, leverage can be
increased by raising the dozer blade as high up the
tree trunk as possible. If the tree measures more than
14 inches in diameter and is difficult to push over, it
is best to make passes on three sides of the tree,
cutting the roots. If the tree is still difficult to push
over, build a ramp on the side opposite the fall. This
will give the crawler-tractor added leverage. When the
tree begins to fall, back away so that the upturning
roots will not damage the crawler-tractor.
4. When using a crawler-tractor to clear land, lower the
blade just far enough into the ground to remove the
brush and roots. Be alert for protruding trees and
limbs when operating in timber or when piling brush.
5. After the towlines are set, the setter moves to a safe
place where the setter can see the operator, and
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
vice versa, at all times. Both shall watch for falling
trees and limbs and warn each other of dangers.
6. The towline setter stays at least 10 feet behind the
7. The towing winch is adjusted only when the motor
is stopped. For adjustments requiring the motor to
be in operation, put the transmission in neutral and
engage the master clutch.
8. Before work is done on the towing winch, lower the
dozer blade to the ground.
9. Do not hoist the dozer blade repeatedly with one
corner caught under a stump or other heavy object.
This may result in blade damage. Use the center of
the blade rather than the corners for this type of
Sidehill Operations
1. A competent, well qualified, experienced person is
needed to supervise and direct sidehill tractor operation. Such a person could be a construction
superintendent, crew leader, or an equipment operator who knows tractor capabilities. This person has
the responsibility to ensure project safety, the proper
care of equipment, and to monitor production.
2. Select only fully qualified equipment operators,
experienced in firefighting, logging, or other tractor
sidehill operations.
3. Tractors must be in top mechanical condition.
4. Sidehill operations can be very difficult. During these
operations, it is particularly important for operators
to be vigilant about safety and use mature judgment.
5. Check equipment often enough to ensure that it is
completely safe. Unsafe units must be shut down
and repaired before continuing to work.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
6. All machinery must be equipped with ROPS, safety
belts, and a rearview mirror positioned to give the
operator full view of rear attachments.
7. Check all work areas for loose logs, rocks, stumps,
bedrock outcroppings, and similar hazards. Identify
and remove all hazards before work begins. The safe
maximum slope on which a crawler-tractor should be
operated is 42 percent on firm ground. To operate
on a maximum slope, the operator must control the
machine, recognizing the following conditions that
may upset tractor stability:
• Speed of travel.
• Roughness of terrain.
• Attachments.
• Characteristics and nature of the ground (for example: track slippage caused by excessive loads
can cause the downhill track to dig in, increasing
the possibility that the crawler-tractor will roll over).
• When using a high-mounted drawbar, a crawlertractor is less stable than when a drawbar with a
standard or lower height is used.
• Wide-track shoes tend to decrease digging in,
making the crawler-tractor more stable.
• Jerking the steering clutches or brakes may make
the crawler-tractor less stable.
8. Whenever slopes steeper than 45 percent must be
worked, use the dozer blade to build a trail or roadway
wide enough to accommodate the crawler-tractor.
All rollovers or tipping of crawler-tractors onto their sides
will be investigated and reported to the regional forester.
Operators in training will work only under the direct
supervision of a qualified operator; they will not
work on slopes steeper than 20 percent.
Fire Operations
1. When crawler-tractors are operated in front of a fire,
build a safety strip for retreat in case the fire makes
a run. This is especially necessary when working
along a ridgetop above fire in a canyon below.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
2. Avoid fast travel over rocky ground or through dense,
unburned brush or stands.
3. Generally, firefighters shall not try to outrun the head
of a fast-moving fire. Instead, they should first try to
get around to the flanks.
Terracing Operations
1. Trainee operators shall not be allowed to operate a
tractor on terracing work.
2. When more than one crawler-tractor is working on a
project, organize operations so that one crawlertractor is working directly below another.
3. Provide a safety scout where ground visibility is poor
because of dense brush or weeds.
4. Do not drag the dozer blade backward over rocks
and stones.
5. Limit heel trenching with the lower corner of the
dozer blade to slopes no steeper than 35 percent.
6. When moving downhill from one terrace to another,
lower the dozer blade and back the crawler-tractor
7. If the slope is steeper than 65 percent, build a road
from one terrace to another.
Endloader and Scraper Operation
1. Only the operator and trainee ride on the seat of the
vehicle and then only when supervised by a competent crew leader.
2. Be sure that the wheels or tracks are on firm ground.
3. Pick up loads under the center of their weight.
4. Start and stop machines slowly when raising and
lowering the bucket and when traveling.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
5. Maintain and use the brakes properly.
6. Avoid excessive slopes and speeds when traveling
on roads.
7. Work only at right angles to the bank or fills.
8. Watch booms and buckets for clearance when working or moving.
9. Take extreme care when working an endloader
10. Install and maintain an automatic backup alarm.
1. Block up the bowl to prevent it from dropping when
changing the cutting edges or working underneath
the scraper.
2. Place blocks between the apron arms and scraper
sides before the work is performed under the apron.
3. Keep hands away from the cable, sheaves, and
linkage while the unit is operating.
4. Wear leather-faced gloves when handling cable.
5. When traveling down a steep hill, be ready to drop
the cutting edge to the ground to serve as a brake if
the scraper should start to jackknife or get out of
6. Replace weak or frayed cables immediately.
Grader Operation
1. Be alert to the danger of fatigue caused by monotony
on the job.
2. Supervisors shall only allow competent operators to
operate a grader. Trainees shall operate a grader
only under the immediate supervision of a qualified
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
3. The operator is the only one allowed on a machine
when it is in motion, unless the operator is instructing
a trainee or a supervisor is directing the work.
4. Never back a machine until you are certain that there
are no hazards. Install and maintain an automatic
backup alarm.
5. Avoid clashing the gears and spinning the wheels.
6. Mount and dismount a grader only when it is stopped
and properly braked.
7. Post Crew and Equipment Working signs and flags
on the section of road being worked to warn and
protect forest users.
8. Plan blading so that a section can be completed each
day. If a windrow must be left overnight, warning
signs or lights shall be placed to warn motorists.
9. If it is impossible to park the grader well off the road,
post reflectors or flags to warn traffic.
10. Keep the cab ventilated to avoid the effects of exhaust fumes. The exhaust tailpipe should be set at
an angle of 45 degrees to the rear and right or left
of the line of travel.
11. Adjust levers or controls directly. Never reach through
the steering wheel to adjust them.
12. Watch the road for hazards. Dismount and look things
over carefully if visibility is poor.
13. Pull—rather than push—logs and windfalls out of
the road if they might slide or roll onto the machine.
14. Grade slowly enough to prevent the machine or yourself from being thrown out of control if you strike
roots, rocks, or stumps.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
15. Only on rare occasions should the grader be operated faster than 5 or 6 miles per hour.
16. Be sure the entire crew is in full view before starting,
and be sure they do not get too close to the moving
17. Shift into the lowest gear necessary to climb or descend a grade.
18. Maintain control on hills by keeping the machine in
gear; never coast out of gear. Do not depend entirely
on the brakes to hold the grader while traveling,
working, or when parked.
19. Keep graders away from the edge of the road on fills.
20. When sloping a bank, watch above the cut for rocks,
logs, and trees that may roll when loosened by the
21. When turning a grader, point the front wheels toward
the fill shoulder.
22. When backing, remember that the brakes do not
hold as well in reverse as in forward gear.
23. Before refueling, doing maintenance work, or checking the machine, stop the engine; set the brakes; and
lower the blade, scarifiers, or rippers to the ground
or onto a block.
24. When fueling a grader, make sure that the refueling
can or pump nozzle touches the fuel tank opening
to prevent static electricity from creating a spark.
25. On motor graders and all units with pneumatic tires,
be sure driving tires are matched for size and are
installed so they rotate in the proper direction.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
Grader Transport
1. Observe State requirements for headlights, taillights,
and warning flashers.
2. Angle the moldboard enough so that both ends are
within the width limits of the tires.
3. Mount a Slow Moving Vehicle sign on the rear of all
4. On narrow roads, stop to let oncoming traffic pass.
5. Always travel at a safe speed based on road and
weather conditions.
6. Point the end of the blade that is on the traffic side
to the rear and away from the direction of travel.
Shovel and Crane Operation
1. A shovel or crane shall be operated only by a qualified operator or a trainee under the direction of a
qualified operator.
2. Wear close-fitting clothing, such as coveralls and
nonskid shoes.
3. Give a signal and wait until everyone is clear before
hoisting materials.
4. Only hoist loads that are well within the rated crane
capacity. When lifting heavy loads, a two-, three-, or
four-part line shall be used to keep within the rated
capacity of the hoisting cable. A data sheet showing
operating ranges and capacity ratings with the boom
at various angles should be posted in the cab.
5. Do not overload booms and cables.
6. The distance between operations and live hightension lines shall be the length of the boom plus
the length of the material being carried. This does
not apply when the power has been cut off.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
7. If the boom should contact overhead wires carrying
electricity, the operator shall:
• Stay on the machine until the boom is cleared or
the power is shut off.
• Keep personnel on the ground away from the
• Jump off if the operator must leave the machine.
The operator must not step off.
8. Keep hands clear of moving cables and other moving parts.
9. Place all slings, ties, and hooks safely and securely
before material is hoisted.
10. Keep away from a dipper, boom, or load being operated or moved. Use handlines for guiding long
11. Do not go under an idle dipper or boom—it may drop
if the brakes are damp or cold.
12. Keep away from the tail swing.
13. Load trucks only when they are safely placed and
the driver is out of the truck’s cab and in the clear.
14. Swing loads over the rear of a truck—not over the
cab—when possible.
15. Mount the machine only when it is not moving.
16. Clear all personnel before a machine is backed up
or moved.
17. Disengage the master clutch before leaving the
grader’s cab temporarily.
18. Shut off the power, lock controls, and secure movable
parts before leaving the grader’s cab for the day.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
19. The dipper or other load shall rest on the ground
before the operator leaves the cab. Never leave a
dipper suspended.
20. Equip all crane booms with snubbers.
1. When a machine is placed near an excavation, keep
shoring and bracing back from the edge for a distance
at least equal to the depth of excavation.
2. Place the machine on ground that is as level as
possible. If cribbing or shims are used to level a
machine, be sure they are sturdy and will not overturn or shift. The machine shall be well blocked to
prevent it from rolling or sinking after being placed
in position.
3. Stabilize a pneumatic-tired, self-propelled machine
with outriggers when necessary.
1. Lower the boom so that its tip is no higher than the
cab, if feasible. If the machine is provided with a
cradle or rack to support the boom, use it.
2. Use a flagperson when there are hazards to the
operator or other persons.
3. Watch for overhead obstructions, such as underpasses, low-hanging limbs, and wires.
4. Do not permit free rolling or coasting with the machine’s traveling gear disengaged.
Crusher and Compressor Operation
1. Permit crusher operation only under the supervision
of a qualified employee whose only duty is plant
2. Make, post, and maintain a safety operating plan at
the crusher.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
3. Provide a safety switch (kill switch) or remote control
for the switch to stop the motor in an emergency. If
possible, place the switch near the chute to the
crusher jaw.
4. Construct all walkways, ladders, and guards of sound
materials, and complete them before the plant is
5. Level and surface the crusher’s feed platform with
nonskid material, such as rough lumber.
6. Inspect all construction annually for evidence of
possible structural failure.
7. When a crusher is operated from a platform above
it, install guards around the crusher opening that will
prevent workers from falling into the opening.
8. Use a rock hook to feed, turn, or remove rocks from
the crusher.
9. When belts are removed or replaced, shut off the
10. Stop all machinery before it is cleaned, serviced, or
11. In portable crusher operations:
• Stop the power before removing obstructions.
• Do not stand on or close to the flexible power drive
1. Check the water and oil levels in the engine and
compressor before starting.
2. Check other applicable items at proper intervals
based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Mechanical shop inspections should be made at the
same intervals prescribed for other heavy equipment.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
3. Allow the engine and compressor to warm up to
operating temperature before closing the drain valve.
4. Check the safety valve by operating it manually.
5. Check all gauges for proper operating pressures.
6. Clean and service the compressor air cleaner daily,
or more often in extremely dusty conditions.
7. Check the compressor daily for air leaks.
8. Bleed the tank and leave the valve open when
shutting down the compressor.
9. Leave the clutch between the engine and compressor disengaged when the engine is shut down.
Brush-Chipper Operation
1. The operator is responsible for safe operation of the
chipper. All workers on the chipper crew shall obey
the operator’s instructions regarding safety.
2. Wear long-sleeved shirts and gloves that protect the
wrist and hands at all times when feeding the machine. When conditions warrant, wear dust masks.
Wear hearing protection when sound levels exceed
85 decibels.
3. Stop the driver motor before making any adjustments
or repairs to the chipper.
4. Do not allow anyone to stand directly in front of the
exhaust chute while the cutterhead is in motion.
5. No more than two persons may feed the chipper. If
they must stand closer than 6 feet from the hopper,
only one person feeds it, working from the side.
Never reach into the throat of an operating chipper.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
6. Only limbs between 2 and 6 feet long should be
chipped. Dry and excessively crooked pieces should
not be chipped. Use a long limb to feed short pieces
into the chipper.
7. The diameter of limbs to be chipped is governed by
the size of the chipper being used. Do not overload it.
8. Throw material butt-end first into the hopper.
9. Use a pusher stick or another limb to clear the hopper.
10. When adjusting blades, cover the cutting edge of the
blades below the one being adjusted with a section
of split hose. Gloves cannot be used safely in such
a tight space.
11. Thoroughly clean pitch and sawdust accumulations
from the seating surfaces of the cutter head and
wedge blocks when blades are being changed.
12. Tighten wedge bolts and adjusting bolts according
to the manufacturer’s specifications. Recheck all
bolts before the machine is started in the morning
and at noon.
13. After the blades are changed and adjusted, rotate
the cutter knife once by hand to make sure that all
blades clear the bed knife.
14. After a blade change, stand well back from the machine while the operator brings the cutter head to
operating speed slowly by engaging and disengaging the clutch. Run the machine at operating speed
for a few minutes and then stop. Recheck the blade
wedge bolts for proper tightness.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
Operator Responsibility
Operators shall maintain equipment to comply at all
times with the items listed on form FS 7100-9a, Operator’s Safety and Preventive Maintenance Inspection
(Crawler-Tractors and Loaders), and form FS 7100-9b,
Operator’s Safety and Preventive Maintenance Inspection (Motor Graders, Wheel Tractors, and Loaders). Any
questions about lubricants, lubrication requirements, or
service adjustments should be referred directly to the
immediate supervisor.
Lubrication is an essential part of preventive maintenance
and, to a great extent, controls the useful life of the
The operator is the most important person in the preventive maintenance program. The operator is the first
one to notice that a machine is not functioning properly
and should visually check the engine temperature, oil
pressure, fuel pressure, ammeter, and so forth, while
operating the machine. The operator should inform the
supervisor or the mechanic of adjustments, repairs,
and loose parts that need to be tightened. Inspection
adjustments and minor repairs can be made while the
machine is being lubricated.
To perform preventive maintenance checks correctly,
the operator must know the machine thoroughly. The
manufacturer’s instruction manual was prepared so the
operator would have the information needed for satisfactory performance. It should be reviewed regularly.
Lubrication Guide
Different makes and models of equipment require different kinds of lubrication at different points and intervals.
Consult the lubrication guide for instructions on each
make and model. Always keep lubrication equipment
clean and in good operating condition. Replace worn or
broken fittings.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
Adjustments by the Operator
Operator’s manuals should be consulted for adjustment
procedures. If adjustments do not correct a situation, the
operator should notify the immediate supervisor so a
mechanic can be dispatched. Forms FS 7100-9a and
FS 7100-9b list items that the operator must maintain
in a satisfactory condition. They also are used to report
repair or maintenance services needed. The operator
is responsible for:
• Adjusting and maintaining hoist and power control
units, foot and handbrakes, steering and master
clutches, fan and generator belts, and tracks.
• Changing oil and fuel filters.
• Draining water from sediment bulbs, fuel tanks, and
fuel filters.
• Installing new cables.
• Keeping parts tightened on the unit.
Operational Checks
1. Before-Operation Checks. The importance of proper
startup and shutdown of construction equipment
cannot be overemphasized. Following the recommendations in this guide and performing scheduled
maintenance procedures will increase equipment life.
Although an operator lubricates and services a machine daily, there is always a chance that something
might happen during overnight and weekend shutdowns. A slow leak may deflate a tire on the motor
grader; an oil or fuel leak might create a fire hazard
or leave a machine without fuel or lubricant; or
someone might tamper with the machine during the
Before operating your equipment, open the valve
under the fuel tank and drain at least a pint to run
off any water that might have collected. Then check
• Tampering or damage.
• Leaks.
• Adequate fuel, oil, hydraulic system, and water
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
Glass and rearview mirror—clean.
Rim and flange nuts—tight.
Tires—adequate inflation.
Fan belt—adequate tension.
Battery—tight, clean, and water up to required
Gauges—operating properly.
Lights—operating properly.
Steering linkage—operating properly.
Nuts and bolts—tight.
Missing tools.
Correct track adjustment.
Enough antifreeze for freezing weather.
2. Operation Checks. Many defects can be detected
only while the machine is actually being operated.
Prevent serious damage to a machine, as well as
lost time due to breakdowns, by keeping alert for
signs of defects. Items to be checked include:
• Steering brakes
• Footbrakes and emergency brakes
• Clutch
• Transmission
• Transfer case
• Engine
• Instruments
• Hydraulic control system
• Blade and power controls
To protect equipment during storage, follow the procedures listed below. NOTE: Catch and dispose of fluids
in accordance with local regulations.
1. Thoroughly wash the complete unit, including the
engine. Lubricate thoroughly.
2. Drain the engine and refill with new oil.
3. If the cooling system contains antifreeze, check for
the lowest expected temperature and add additional
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
antifreeze if needed. Use the manufacturer’s recommended coolant or its equivalent. Check all cooling
system hoses and hose connections. If the cooling
system is to be drained, be sure that the radiator
engine block, water pump, and heater are drained
completely. Tie a warning tag marked Cooling
System Drained to the steering wheel or levers.
4. Drain the fuel filter element housing and install new
filter elements.
5. Drain any accumulated dirt and water in the fuel tanks;
replace the drainplug and completely fill all tanks.
6. Clean the sediment bulb to remove water.
7. Cover the magnetos with waterproof material.
8. Store the unit under cover, or cover it with canvas,
giving preference to automobiles.
9. Release the power control unit’s brakes by tying the
handles in the released position.
10. Cover the exhaust and intake pipes.
11. Rest moldboards, end loader buckets, and scraper
bowls on blocks or planks.
12. Coat moldboards and end loader buckets with heavy
oil or grease.
13. Remove batteries, charge them, and store them on
a wooden base in a dry, frostproof place.
14. Clean the cable terminals and battery carrier with
soda solution and rinse them with clean water.
15. Block up axles to take the weight off pneumatic tires.
Run track-type machines onto planks or poles to
keep them from freezing to the ground if they are to
be stored in the open or on a dirt floor.
Chapter 5—Heavy Equipment
16. Cover exposed pistons, cylinders, rams, gears,
shafts, and all running parts with heavy grease or
oil. Do not grease tracks.
17. Coat all exposed steering ball joints on drive axles
with heavy grease or oil.
18. Remove exposed seats or backrests and store them
under cover.
19. Open the drainplug or draincock and bleed the air
receiver tanks on the air compressors.
Chapter 6—Trail Bikes and AllTerrain Vehicles
Only four- or six-wheel, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) will
be used by the USDA Forest Service.
An examiner who is qualified for the type of vehicle to
be used will train and test operators of ATVs. Tests for
new operators will include an Operators Questionnaire
for ATV Machines.
Drivers of USDA Forest Service-owned or -leased ATVs
must meet training requirements and hold a valid Operator’s Identification Card, OF-346, or a USDA Forest
Service-issued identification card or document authorizing use of ATVs.
Before anyone is permitted to ride a machine on a trail,
the following instructions and training must be given:
1. Explain the uses, advantages, and disadvantages
of the machines. Explain hazards and rules for use.
Explain that the operator is responsible for checks
before, during, and after operation of any vehicle.
2. Explain and demonstrate the following ATV features:
• Brake system
• Clutch—manual or automatic
• Choke
• Throttle—thumb or twistgrip
• Starter—electric or rope recoil
• Engine stop/run switch
• Lighting on/off switch
• Dimmer switch
• Odometer and trip meter, if the vehicle has this
• Gearshift lever
• Reverse lever
• Fuel priming pump, if the vehicle has one
• Decompression lever, if the vehicle has one
• Footrest
• Steering
• Fuel valve—on, off, and reserve positions
Chapter 6—Trail Bikes and All-Terrain Vehicles
3. Show the operator how to start the engine, how to
remove the machine from the kickstand while holding the rear brake, and how to mount the machine
and start off.
4. Have the operator ride the machine on a road or
level ground while the trainer is observing.
5. Have the operator practice balance and smooth
application of power. The operator must show proficiency in these skills before being permitted to take
the machine on an easy trail ride. New operators
should keep off difficult trails until they have become
proficient. The test ride should be about 5 miles
long, take about 11⁄2 to 2 hours, and be conducted
under the supervision of a qualified trainer.
Safety Rules
1. The safety of the operator always comes first. Take
great care when riding these machines on steep
trails and extreme side slopes. Maintain balance
and apply power evenly. If you lose control, do not
try to hold the machine—let it go and save yourself
by staying on the trail.
2. Avoid trail riding until you are proficient on easy, level
3. Speeds exceeding 8 miles per hour are dangerous.
Practice defensive riding—reckless driving and
horseplay are prohibited.
4. Do not allow a second person to ride an ATV except
during emergencies.
5. Walk the machine past hazards such as trails along
steep bluffs and areas with rolling rocks.
6. Avoid riding on wet, muddy trails.
Chapter 6—Trail Bikes and All-Terrain Vehicles
7. When approaching stock, stop the machine, shut off
the engine, and move it off the trail as far as possible.
8. Wear protective headgear that meets the Motorcycle,
Scooter, and Allied Trades Association (MSATA)
standards for crash helmets. Also wear proper field
boots, adequate clothing (long-sleeved shirt and/or
jacket), leather gloves, and safety goggles/glasses.
Operating Procedures
1. Read and understand the operator’s manual for each
make of machine being used.
2. Never leave the machine with the engine running.
Always engage the parking brake and remove the
ignition key when leaving the machine unattended.
3. Grasp the throttle on the right handlebar. To apply
power, feed gasoline to the motor by depressing
the thumb, or twisting the hand grip. Apply power
4. When traveling up steep grades, lean forward on the
machine. This places weight on the front wheels and
prevents the front end from rearing up.
5. When traveling down steep grades, transfer body
weight to the rear, shift into low gear, and descend
with the throttle closed. Apply brakes to the front and
rear wheels to reduce speed.
6. Never ford any stream with deep or swift-moving
water. The tires may float, making the vehicle difficult to control.
7. Remain alert at all times for pedestrians, stock, and
trail hazards. Use extreme caution when approaching
turns, switchbacks, steep grades, bluffs, and similar
8. Do not drive on private property without the owner’s
Chapter 6—Trail Bikes and All-Terrain Vehicles
1. Trail ATVs are subject to more frequent mechanical
breakdowns and need more frequent carburetor
adjustment than other motor vehicles. A change in
elevation of 1,000 feet or more can require carburetor
adjustment. The drive chain can be broken if the
drive sprocket strikes a rock with any force. Minor
adjustments of brakes, belts, and the drive chain
must be made often while in the field.
2. Each trail machine should be equipped with a small
toolbox or a cloth bag containing at least a pair of
pliers, an adjustable end wrench, three or four openend wrenches, a screwdriver, two or three chainrepair links, extra spark plugs, a spark plug wrench,
a repair kit for the drive chain, and any special tools
required for the specific make of ATV. Other items,
such as wire, tape, rope, and foul-weather gear also
may be useful.
3. Each trail ATV should be equipped with a USDA
Forest Service-approved spark arrester, an 8-ounce
liquid fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, a flashlight, and
other items as required.
4. Some manufacturers furnish only a spark plug (spring
leaf) ground strap to stop the engine. Because this
device is inconveniently located, especially when the
machine is off balance, the operator is usually unable
to reach it to stop the engine, which can be a disadvantage in critical situations. An engine ground
switch should be installed within easy reach of the
5. Perform required preventive maintenance before
starting a trip. Always conduct an inspection before
starting a ride. The following tests cover most models:
• Make sure all parts, such as lights, levers, handles, pedals, frame, and tires, are undamaged.
• Make sure all controls, such as brakes, lights, on/
off switches, throttles, and choke, are working.
Chapter 6—Trail Bikes and All-Terrain Vehicles
• Inspect tires for cuts and gouges and for proper air
• Check the wheels to ensure that lugnuts are tight;
also, check axlenuts for tightness and a secure
cotter pin. Grasp the tire at the front and rear, and
try to rock it on its axle to detect worn-out bearings
or loose nuts. There should be no free play or slip
while the wheel is rocked.
• Check the oil level in the engine and transmission.
Check the level of all other fluids.
• Check the fuel level and fill the fuel tank. Make
sure the fuel valve turns to all three positions: on,
off, and reserve. Turn the valve to on before starting.
• After starting the ATV, make sure the gearshift and
all the gears, including reverse, are working.
• A two-way radio is recommended. Forest policy
may make this item mandatory.
• After each field trip, inspect the ATV and perform
necessary maintenance.
• Perform regular maintenance as specified in the
operator’s manual.
1. Use a hauling vehicle rated to have adequate capacity
and capability for the load.
2. A tilt-bed trailer, designed especially for the ATV
being used, is the best unit for hauling these machines.
3. Employ safe methods to load an ATV in the bed of a
pickup. If possible, back the truck into a bank so the
bed is about even with the ground. When loading or
unloading, use ramps that are wide enough for the
ATV and that secure firmly to the bed of the truck.
4. Before transporting an ATV, put it in gear, set the
parking brake, and tie it down securely. When a
truck is hauling an ATV, the tailgate must be closed.
Do not allow the ATV’s wheels to damage the front
of the truck’s bed or the tailgate.
Chapter 7—Snow Machines
Operators of oversnow vehicles will be trained and tested
by an examiner who is qualified in the type of vehicle
to be used. Tests for new operators will include an
Operators Questionnaire for Oversnow Machines. Their
qualifications will be noted on their Government Operator’s Identification Card, OF-346, or a USDA Forest
Service-issued identification card.
All official snow-machine travel shall be authorized by
the work supervisor.
Operators must be instructed in the proper operation of
the vehicle. Operators must understand each control.
Operators should read the manual thoroughly, recognize
the machine’s limitations, and operate the machine
Safety Rules
1. Before each trip, inspect the snow vehicle to determine whether it is in safe operating condition. Using
the procedure outlined in the operator’s manual,
check to see that the vehicle has been lubricated
and that safety and preventive maintenance procedures have been performed. Check brake and
throttle action, the starting system, the oil level for
the chain, gasoline supply, and lights. Lubrication
and maintenance of the main drive clutch and the
belt or drive train are especially important.
2. Before each trip, file the travel route and time schedule at the dispatcher’s office or official station. If the
destination is a staffed station, personnel there
should be notified of the travel route and the expected arrival time.
3. All operators and passengers will be experienced in
the use of skis and/or snowshoes and will be outfitted in boots, gloves, insulated coveralls, and other
clothing adequate for winter foot travel. Tinted
Chapter 7—Snow Machines
goggles or glasses shall be part of each operator’s
personal equipment. Sunscreen lotion is recommended.
4. Each snow vehicle (including rentals) shall have the
following equipment securely attached:
• An adequate first aid kit.
• A map of the area to be traversed.
• A tool kit and parts for making common and simple
adjustments as well as repairs peculiar to the make
and model of vehicle—an extra drive belt, spark
plug, starter rope (if applicable), towrope, and a
small can of grease. If special tools are required,
be sure they are with the machine.
5. When planning to stay overnight or when it would
not be reasonably possible to travel to the destination
by snow machine and return on skis or snowshoes
in 1 day, take the following equipment:
• A portable radio (if in an area where a radio will
• An approved survival kit containing:
–A 9- by 12-foot plastic tarp in a suitable container
–100 feet of 1⁄4-inch nylon rope
–Emergency rations
–Waterproof matches
–A hatchet
–Emergency flares (three or four)
–A flashlight or headlight and extra batteries
–Clothing and blankets or sleeping bags for cold
–Water or other liquids
6. Avoid speeds that may cause you to lose control of
the machine. Quick stops should be avoided. Speed
should be reduced gradually before stopping.
7. The operator and passenger will ride only in the
manner or positions approved by a qualified trainer
for the machine. Avoid quick turns. Use handholds
when provided.
Chapter 7—Snow Machines
8. If a sled or toboggan is pulled by a snow machine,
use a rigid hitch, not a chain or rope.
9. Never leave the machine with the engine running.
Always engage the parking brake and remove the
ignition key when leaving the vehicle unattended.
10. After each field trip, each snow vehicle shall receive
an inspection and necessary maintenance.
11. Never make adjustments to the track or other power
train components with the engine running.
12. Travel with no less than two machines, except in
emergency situations.
13. Check the weather over the travel area before starting
the trip and prepare for expected weather conditions.
Be particularly cautious when snow and light create
a whiteout condition in which it is impossible to see
where you are going. Know snow conditions: powder
during the late fall and rotten snow during late spring
will not hold a machine and will be extremely hard
on equipment. Spring travel should be done in early
morning while the crust is hard. Plan on getting
back before the crust gets soft because travel could
become impossible later in the day, leaving you
14. Do not plan a trip involving travel after dark. Begin
the return trip early enough to allow time for having
trouble while still getting back before dark.
15. Stay on marked trails when possible. Do not leave the
scheduled route of travel unless hazardous conditions make detours advisable. If a detour requires
several miles of unscheduled travel, radio the change
in route to the dispatcher, if possible.
16. Stay off frozen streams or lakes whenever possible.
During essential emergency crossings, test the
surface carefully to ensure safety before proceeding.
Chapter 7—Snow Machines
17. Do not chase or disturb wildlife. Take extra precautions to avoid disturbing wildlife on their winter ranges.
18. Establish and adhere to a radio reporting schedule.
Check in as necessary, but at least every 3 hours.
19. Do not drive the snow machine on streets, roads, or
highways unless it is legal and necessary to do so.
Avoid this type of travel under normal circumstances.
20. Avoid operating the machine at speeds that create
added danger of windchill.
21. When traveling in areas where there is a possibility
of avalanche danger, follow these procedures:
• Always carry:
–A sectional or collapsible probe
–A collapsible snow shovel
–Avalanche beacons attached to each person
• Always travel so that only one person at a time is
exposed to avalanche danger.
• Stay off an avalanche path unless you are accompanied by trained avalanche personnel who certify
that there is no danger in the path. Be especially
careful to avoid fracture zones. Accident records
show that most avalanche victims started the
avalanches themselves. The safest route around
an avalanche path is over the top by way of the
ridges; the next safest route is along the valley floor
beyond the avalanche path.
• Do not make rest stops under or on an avalanche
• Stay out of hazardous areas during or immediately
after heavy snowfall or prolonged periods of high
wind. Most avalanches occur during these periods.
(Danger may persist for many days if temperatures
are low.)
• Do not assume a slope is safe because it did not
slide when the first machine crossed it.
• Beware of lee areas where the wind deposits snow,
the slopes beneath cornices, and deep drifts,
especially those with a convex (mounded) profile.
Chapter 7—Snow Machines
These are prime locations for avalanche fracture
• Do not assume that avalanches are confined to
open slopes. Dense timber is usually good protection, but open or scattered timber stands may not
hold the snow.
• Before crossing an avalanche slope in the backcountry, ask “Will it slide?” and “What will happen
if it does slide?” It may not be possible to guess
whether the slope will slide, but it may be possible
to make a good estimate of the risk involved if it
does slide. Stay off slopes where there is a significant risk of being hurt.
• Be careful on or below 60- to 100-percent slopes.
Most dangerous avalanches originate on slopes
within this range. Snow tends to slough off steeper
slopes before accumulating.
22. When planning and making an oversnow trip:
• Do not drive on private property without the owner’s
• Do not travel on public roads after snow has been
plowed, or you may become a traffic hazard.
• Avoid developed ski areas.
• Stay out of active logging areas, unless a timber
management assignment requires you to be there.
• Know the country being traveled.
• Recognize snow conditions and the machine’s
capabilities when traversing slopes.
23. If confronted with trouble:
• Radio your location and conditions, if possible.
• Do not abandon snowshoes or skis for any reason.
• If you must remain with the machine, start a fire
and prepare for survival.
24. Each operator should be familiar with common trail
Chapter 7—Snow Machines
Crossings or
One-way trail
1. Use a hauling vehicle rated to have adequate capacity and capability for the load.
2. A tilt-bed trailer, designed especially for the snowmobiles being used, is the best unit for hauling these
3. Securely tie down the snow vehicle before hauling it.
4. Provide a cover or tarp for machines when they are
being hauled. The cover shall be secured to the
snowmobile. Always haul machines with the front
end to the front of the trailer. Wind resistance may
break the windshield off if the machine is hauled with
its back end to the front of the trailer.
Chapter 8—Garbage Packers
Operators of garbage-packer trucks must be qualified
to operate trucks as large as those on which garbage
packers are mounted. After such qualification, they
should be trained to operate the packer unit.
The garbage packers purchased by the USDA Forest
Service are well designed, efficient, and safe when used
as intended. They are also expensive and potentially
dangerous. It is of the utmost importance that the units
be maintained properly and operated correctly.
Safety Rules
1. When the packer is being used for refuse collection,
one member of the crew shall be designated as the
packer operator. The packer operator shall be the
only member of the crew authorized to operate the
packer functions. The prime responsibilities of the
packer operator include:
• Seeing that the collection crew is clear of all packer
functions before operation.
• Ensuring that the packer is maintained correctly,
all safety equipment is included, safety regulations
are understood and followed, and that safety interlocks are working properly.
2. Never allow anyone to stick a head, arm, or any
other limb inside the packer during the refuse collecting operation.
3. Crewmembers wear snug-fitting clothing.
4. Storing articles inside the packer is prohibited.
5. The operator and helpers should wear shoes with
nonskid soles.
6. Never allow anyone to get in the packer unless the
packer blade is adequately blocked.
Chapter 8—Garbage Packers
7. Wear hardhats at all times.
8. The barrel lifter must clear the opening of the packer
before the automatic blade cycle valve is operated.
Keep the barrel lifter and step in their stored position
when traveling.
9. Keep your body clear of the barrel lifter and make
certain your hands and arms are out of the barrel
lifter’s path.
10. Do not leave garbage in the packer overnight.
11. The following safety equipment shall be with the
packer at all times:
• Stiff arm for rear bubble or door
• Five-pound A, B, C-rated fire extinguisher
• Packer-blade block
• Backup alarm
• Chock blocks
• First aid kit
• Hardhats
• Reflectors or flares
• Tire chains
• Fire tools
Operating Procedures
1. To engage the power takeoff, first place the truck
transmission in neutral. Depress the clutch pedal and
engage the power takeoff control. Release the clutch
pedal slowly. Let the oil in the packer’s hydraulic
system circulate for several minutes. The clutch
should be depressed when disengaging the power
takeoff. Always disengage the power takeoff before
moving the truck, even when only moving a short
2. Before loading refuse, make sure that the packer
blade is retracted against the forward wall. Refuse
must never be dumped in front of the blade. Always
check to see if the tailgate clamps are locked.
Chapter 8—Garbage Packers
3. Most packer controls are equipped with an automatic
cycle. This cycle compacts the refuse and returns the
blade to the forward wall. If, at any time, it becomes
necessary to stop the blade movement, place the
control lever in the neutral position. On some packer
models a swinging latch is located just below the
valve handle and may be swung up to hold the handle in the neutral position.
4. Engine speed and hydraulic pump flow are controlled
by an electric accelerator solenoid. This solenoid
sets the engine revolutions per minute, which gives
the correct blade cycle time.
5. After each load is dumped, check to see that the
tailgate is sealed properly when closed.
The basic truck shall be maintained in accordance with
standard regional policy for such vehicles. A complete
manufacturer’s guide to lubrication should be included
with the packer unit.
1. Tire pressure is of critical importance. Load variations in a garbage packer are common and driving
is hazardous with incorrect pressures. Check the
pressure in each tire daily.
2. The oil level in the hydraulic system should be
checked once a week. Always check the unit for leaks.
If the hydraulic system is low, use the manufacturer’s
recommended hydraulic system oil.
3. The ram-blade runners shall be lubricated at least
twice a week.
4. Grease the zerk fittings on equalizer shafts, ram
blade arms, step assembly, and tailgate lock assembly at least once a week.
Chapter 8—Garbage Packers
5. Oil the hinge points on the container, lift unit, step
assembly, and tailgate once a week.
6. Clean the packer and truck thoroughly, inside and
out, at least every 2 weeks.
Chapter 9—Boats
For regulatory purposes, motorboats are divided into
the following four classifications:
1. Class A, motorboats shorter than 16 feet.
2. Class 1, motorboats 16 feet or longer, but shorter
than 26 feet
3. Class 2, motorboats 26 feet or longer, but shorter
than 40 feet
4. Class 3, motorboats 40 feet or longer, but not longer than 65 feet
1. Only trained and qualified personnel may be licensed
to operate power-driven boats. Show qualified boat
classes on the operator’s regional identification card,
a boat operator’s license, or OF-346.
2. Trainees shall operate boats only under the immediate supervision of a licensed boat operator.
3. One licensed person shall be in charge of the boat
at all times. This person is responsible for the safe
operation of the boat and for protecting personnel
and Government property.
Training and Licensing
1. Potential boat operators must successfully complete
a boating class developed for their unit or attend the
U.S. Coast Guard Boating Skills and Seamanship
2. Training can be developed by a unit to fit its particular
needs. At a minimum, the training will cover the
following items:
• Float plans
• Basic mechanics of boats and engines
Chapter 9—Boats
• Proper loading
• Personal flotation devices (PFDs)
• Basic U.S. Coast Guard regulations applicable to
the unit
• Tides and currents, if applicable
• CPR and first aid
• Basic boat handling and anchoring
• Use of USDA Forest Service two-way radios, if
• Survival skills appropriate to the area
• U.S. Coast Guard Rules of the Road
3. On-the-job training shall consist of a designated
minimum number of hours. A trainee will conduct
boat operations under the direct supervision of a
licensed boat operator. Minimum hours of on-the-job
training will be established and published by each
unit based on types of waters and conditions encountered locally.
4. Potential operators will take a practical hands-on
field test with a licensed operator. Boat licenses are
not issued based on need, but on demonstrated skill
and prior experience.
5. A yearly boaters’ meeting will be scheduled for all
operators. This is a time to discuss policy/rule
changes, additional safety needs, near misses (potential accidents), and boating program needs.
6. Boat operator licenses will expire every 4 years.
Operators must show evidence of boating experience in the previous 2 years, or repeat the training
described above.
Safety Rules
1. Be familiar with and adhere to U.S. Coast Guard,
USDA Forest Service, and State rules and regulations pertaining to required equipment and boat
Chapter 9—Boats
2. Each boat will have a pretrip checklist. Before each
trip, the operator is responsible for checking this list
to ensure that all safety equipment is aboard and
that the boat and engine(s) are operating properly.
3. Check the short-, and if applicable, the long-term
weather forecast for the area. Always respect smallcraft advisories, squall lines, and thunderstorm
4. Consider precautions to prevent capsizing, which
can be caused by high-speed turns, overloading and
improper loading, and improper heading in bad
weather. Be sure the boat is ready and that the
operator has the experience to meet any challenge
the weather may present.
5. Falling overboard has caused many fatalities. Attention to safety is critical. Here are a few examples of
safe practices:
• Ensure that the operator and all passengers are
seated. Do not run the boat at excessive speeds.
Do not stand or move around while in progress. Do
not sit on decks or gunwales.
• Ensure that every passenger not in a cabin is
wearing a personal flotation device (PFD).
• Make sure the deck is free of oils and items that
could trip someone.
• When boarding a small boat, step into the center,
not onto the side.
• Always wear proper footwear.
• Do not allow horseplay.
6. Report safety and mechanical problems to ensure
that they are corrected.
7. Equipment requirements for the four classes of motor
boats are established by Federal and State laws.
Exhibit 1 lists the minimum Federal equipment requirements enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard on
the navigable waters of the United States.
Chapter 9—Boats
8. PFDs come in a variety of shapes, colors, and materials. Some are more rugged and last longer.
Some protect the wearer from cold water. No matter
which PFD is chosen, be sure to get the one that is
right for the wearer and for the expected water conditions. Exhibit 2 explains some features of U.S.
Coast Guard-approved PFDs.
9. Never fill portable fuel tanks while in a boat. Invisible,
heavier-than-air gas vapors that escape from the
tank during refueling can settle into the bilges in
explosive proportions. Gasoline expands, so do not
fill tanks completely if the temperature is likely to rise
before some fuel is consumed.
10. To refuel boats fitted with permanently installed
tanks, follow these precautionary procedures in this
• Moor the boat securely to prevent movement during
the refueling operation.
• Do not smoke; extinguish all lights and fires.
• Stop motors and turn off electrical devices that may
produce sparks.
• Remove all passengers from the boat.
• Close all cabin and compartment openings.
• Check fuel-tank vents and fuel-line connections.
• Determine the amount of fuel needed.
• Keep the hose nozzle in contact with the fuel tank
opening that could create a spark.
• Turn off gas flow; allow all fuel to drain from the line.
• Close the fill opening and wipe or flush any spilled
fuel with water.
• Open all ports, doors, and hatches, and allow the
boat to ventilate for 5 minutes. Turn on the explosion-proof bilge blowers, if the boat has them.
• Check all compartments for any odor of gas before
starting engines.
Operating Procedures
Each boat will handle differently. Operating a boat can
be difficult because of wind, tides, currents, and other
boat traffic. Boat characteristics, handling, piloting, and
Chapter 9—Boats
other topics must be covered in training for operators.
The potential operator must show the ability to handle
these challenges during the field (hands-on) training
and testing.
1. The most critical item when picking a trailer for the
boat is support of the hull. Using an incompatible
trailer will probably damage the hull. The trailer must
be rated to handle the total weight of the boat and
2. The trailer must be loaded so that 5 to 15 percent of
the weight is on the tongue. When the tongue weight
is too low, the trailer’s weight will lighten the rear of
the towing vehicle, which may lead to loss of control.
When the tongue weight is too high, the trailer’s
weight will lighten the front of the towing vehicle,
which may make it impossible to steer the vehicle.
The combined weight of the boat loaded with equipment and the trailer shall not exceed 75 percent of
the GVWR of the towing vehicle. If the combined
weight of the boat and trailer exceed 75 percent of
the GVWR of the towing vehicle, a larger vehicle
must be used.
4. Safety chains ensure that the tongue will not contact
the ground if the trailer comes loose. Make sure
chains are crossed under the tongue and that the
length is correct before attaching them to the vehicle
5. Always be aware of extra length and weight of the
trailer, which will require much more room when
turning and greater distance when stopping. Plan far
ahead of the turn or stop.
Chapter 9—Boats
6. All trailers shall be equipped with lighting as required
by Federal and State regulations. Trailer brakes
controlled from the towing vehicle will be provided
when the gross trailer weight exceeds the minimum
1,500 pounds requirement for installation of brakes.
Exhibit 1—
(Class A boat, shorter than 16 ft)
(Class 1 boat, 16 to 26 ft long)
(Class 2 boat, 26 to 40 ft long)
(Class 3 boat, 40 to 65 ft long)
Personal flotation devices (PFD, life jacket)
• CLASS A BOAT: One approved Type I, II, III, IV, or V
PFD for each person onboard
• CLASS 1, 2, and 3 BOATS: One approved Type I, II, III,
or V device for each person onboard. In addition, one
throwable Type IV device. Type V recreational hybrid
PFDs must be worn when the boat is being used.
Fire extinguisher*
(Must say Coast Guard Approved)
• CLASS A and 1 BOATS: At least one B-1-type* approved
hand portable fire extinguisher. (Not required on outboard
motorboats shorter than 26 feet and not carrying passengers for hire if the construction of such motorboats will not
permit the entrapment of explosive or flammable gases
or vapors and if fuel tanks are not permanently installed.)
• CLASS 2 BOAT: At least two B-1-type approved portable fire extinguishers; OR at least one B-11-type approved portable fire extinguisher.
• CLASS 3 BOAT: At least three B-1-type approved portable fire extinguishers; OR at least one B-1 type plus
one B-11-type approved portable fire extinguisher.
Visual distress signals**
(Required on coastal waters only)
• CLASS A BOAT: Must carry approved visual distress
signals for nighttime use.
• CLASS 1, 2, and 3 BOATS: Must carry visual distress
signals approved for both daytime and nighttime use.
Chapter 9—Boats
Exhibit 1
Bell, whistle
• CLASS A and 1 BOATS: Every vessel shorter than 12
meters (39.4 ft) must carry an efficient sound-producing
• CLASS 2 and 3 BOATS: Every vessel longer than 12
meters (39.4 ft) but shorter than 20 meters (65.6 ft) must
carry a whistle and a bell. The whistle must be audible
for 1⁄2 nautical mile. The mouth of the bell must be at
least 200 millimeters (7.87 in) in diameter.
(Boats built before August 1, 1980)
• ALL CLASSES: At least two ventilator ducts fitted with
cowls or their equivalent for the purpose of properly and
efficiently ventilating the bilges of every closed engine
and fuel-tank compartment of boats constructed or decked
over after April 25, 1940, using gasoline as fuel or other
fuels having a flashpoint of less than 110° F.
(Boats built August 1, 1980 or after)
• ALL CLASSES: At least two ventilator ducts for the
purpose of efficiently ventilating every closed compartment
that contains a gasoline engine and every closed compartment containing a gasoline tank, except those having
permanently installed tanks that vent outside the boat and
which contain no unprotected electrical devices. Also,
engine compartments containing a gasoline engine having
a cranking motor must contain power-operated exhaust
blowers that can be controlled from the instrument panel.
Backfire flame arrestor
• ALL CLASSES: One approved device on each carburetor of all gasoline engines installed after April 25, 1940,
except outboard motors.
*When a fixed fire extinguishing system is installed in machinery
space(s), it will replace one B-1-type portable fire extinguisher.
**A pamphlet describing visual distress signals is available from
the U.S. Coast Guard.
Chapter 9—Boats
Exhibit 1
Marine fire extinguisher classification
Coast Guard
U.S. Coast Guard minimum equipment requirements vary
with the size of the boat, type of propulsion, whether operated at night or in periods of reduced visibility, and, in some
cases, the body of water on which it is used. For a more
thorough discussion and complete details on how many and
what types of equipment you must have aboard your boat,
request a copy of the free pamphlet, Federal Requirements
for Recreational Boats, from the U.S. Coast Guard. Many
states have their own requirements that go beyond U.S.
Coast Guard requirements. Contact your State boating
office to learn what they are.
Chapter 9—Boats
Exhibit 2
TYPE I—Offshore life jacket.
These vests are geared for
rough or remote waters where
rescue may take awhile. They
are excellent for flotation and
will turn most unconscious
persons face up in the water.
TYPE II—Near-shore vest.
These vests are good for calm
waters and fast rescues. Type
II vests may lack the capacity
to turn unconscious wearers
face up.
TYPE III—Flotation aid. These vests or
full-sleeved jackets are good for calm
waters and fast rescues. They are not
for rough waters since they will not turn
a person face up.
Chapter 9—Boats
Exhibit 2
TYPE IV—Throwable device. These cushions or
ring buoys are designed to be thrown to someone
in trouble. They are not for long hours in rough
waters, nonswimmers, or the unconscious.
TYPE V—Special-use device. These wind-surfing
vests, deck suits, hybrid PFDs, and others are
designed for specific activities, such as kayaking or
water skiing. To be acceptable, Type V PFDs must
be used in accordance with their label.
Copyright © 1999–2004 by Boat Ed. PFD graphics and
text used with permission by Boat Ed.
Engineering Management Series
Administrative Distribution
The Series—The Engineering Management Series is published
periodically as a means for exchanging engineering-related
ideas and information. Each EM serves a specific purpose and
is distributed to an audience interested in the topic discussed.
Submittals—Authors should send material through their
regional information coordinator for regional office review to
ensure inclusion of information that is accurate, timely, and of
interest Servicewide.
Regional and Washington Office Information Coordinators:
R-1 Marcia Hughey
R-6 Cheryl Clark
R-2 Jim Moe
R-8 Robert Harmon
R-3 Marjorie Apodaca
R-9 Cliff Denning
R-4 Justin Humble
R-10 Gretchen Barkmann
R-5 Gwen Nishida
Center Information Coordinators:
GSTC Marcia Thomas
RSAC Brian Schwind
MTDC Bert Lindler
SDTDC Susan Clements
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race,
color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable,
sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion,
sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited
bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who
require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact
USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director,
Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272
(voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
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