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8 Safety Tips Flatbed Truck Drivers Need To Know

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018
truck driver safety tips

Drivers of large transport vehicles require specialized training for the trucks they will be handling. Flatbed truck drivers have additional safety concerns due to the openness of their trailer and need specific safety training. These trucks typically carry irregular and more massive loads, and there is often less protection to keep the load stabilized. The following are eight safety precautions flatbed truck drivers should know.

Be aware of the trailer surface

Flatbed truck drivers are required to walk on top of the trailer in order to secure a load. Walking on top of the trailer and sometimes on top of the load puts you at risk for falling. The surface could be slippery and you are at risk of falling if the load creates an uneven walking area. Be aware of the shape of the load and the condition of your walking space on your trailer’s surface.

Be familiar with irregularly shaped loads

You will be transporting many irregularly shaped loads that are not able to be shipped in a van or enclosed trailer. Some loads require being placed from the side with the help of a crane. Machinery and piles of wood are commonly shipped on a flatbed trailer and it can be dangerous to move around when they are tarped. It can be difficult to know where there might be a space or item in the load can shift as well. Pay close attention to where you place your feet and make sure you are walking on a stable surface.

There are limited working areas between trailers

When you park your flatbed trailer for loading, it may be placed in an area with limited space. Having a limited amount of space increases the risk of falling or sustaining other injuries. When securing your load in a small or tight fitting area, you must always be aware of objects around you and where you place your feet.

Follow safe loading and unloading procedures

It is difficult to list all of the specific safety procedures to follow because so many types of loads are moved on flatbed trailers. However, there is a set of procedures that can reduce your risk of falling when loading or unloading your flatbed trailer.

Know the danger zone

The danger zone is the area around your trailer that holds more danger to you or others than other areas around your vehicle. You need to understand this zone, as it will vary with each load. Consider the size of your load and how it will be secured and unloaded to know how much space is needed to be in a safe zone.

Properly handle load securements

Load securements are the items you will use to secure your loads. These items can include chains, cables, ropes, straps, strap winches, or chain binders. It is often your responsibility to place and remove these securements. When working with an operator to take these items off, you need to communicate and make sure each of you has an understanding of them. Make sure everyone is in a safe zone before the securements are removed from the load.

Work as a team

If you have someone helping you secure your loads, you need to work as a team. Make sure you and your helper understand each other’s role in the process and communicate as you load or unload your flatbed trailer. With proper communication, you will reduce the risk of injury from unexpected tie-downs coming loose or from shifting items on the trailer.

Use the proper equipment to access your flatbed trailer

It is essential to wear the proper footwear. Boots with non-skid soles and adequate tread will help reduce the risk of slipping, while work gloves should be worn to protect your hands. Another safety tip is to check your securement equipment each time before using it to look for any sign of wear. Do not use anything that shows signs of damage or has any tears.

Using a portable trailer ladder to reach the surface of your trailer is a safer method than climbing up or jumping down from your flatbed. These are compact tools that can be attached to the rub rails on your trailer to prevent dangerous falls. Trailer safety ladders can help you load and unload your flatbed trailer, and check or secure oddly shaped loads without having to climb on top of them.

Gateway Supply in Pampa, Texas is the United States distributor of the Deckmate Ladder. This ladder provides a safer way for you to access the surface of your flatbed trailer and will not interfere with loading docks. Call us today at (806) 440-1126 or Contact Us by email to learn more about how we can help you.