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Fall Protection Laws For The Trucking Industry

Friday, December 21st, 2018
flatbed truck fall protection laws

Winter is no less busy for transportation companies than at other times of the year. No matter the cargo, the trucking industry is always bustling. Because of the high demand, truck drivers have to drive and work through cold and dangerous weather. Common concerns that can happen during winter do not just include vehicle accidents or lost cargo but also fall injuries. The following details safety laws and equipment that are made to keep truckers in any area safe.

OSHA fall protection requirements

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act (OSHA), all workers are required to have fall protection equipment at heights of four feet and higher. This rule is difficult to define for the trucking industry as the workplace is continually moving from location to location, which makes it hard to pinpoint where regulations need to apply and where they do not. Despite this challenge, OSHA has clear requirements for truck drivers.

  • Trucking companies are required to provide a fall protection system that includes anchorage points, body harnesses, and connecting devices.
  • The anchorage point is the fixed or built-in point at which the worker can attach their safety harness to prevent them from falling off the vehicle.
  • Body harnesses are the full-body safety equipment that distributes a person’s weight throughout their body in case of a fall.
  • Connecting devices, such as lanyards or retractable lifelines, connect the body harness to the anchorage point.

In addition to providing necessary equipment, trucking companies are also responsible for training their employees on proper procedures for using fall protection systems. This includes how to inspect and use the equipment correctly.

Who is at risk for falls?

Truckers face a significant risk of falls due to their elevated workspaces. Whether operating a flatbed truck, tanker, or any other commercial vehicle, drivers often need to reach heights of four feet or more. This includes accessing loading docks, their cabs, and their trailers. It is crucial to be aware of potential hazards and take necessary precautions for safety.

Many commercial truck beds are protected by guardrails or have an enclosed trailer, so there is less risk of falling. But, that situation changes if a truck driver is exposed, like on a flatbed trailer. Fall protection equipment should be worn at all times when working in dangerous areas.

Where do truck drivers need fall protection the most?

OSHA and the Department of Transportation (DOT) are two organizations that have made the most impact on fall protection regulations. OSHA focuses on the health and safety issues that all workers are subjected to in each industry. The DOT’s main job is to provide safety and efficiency on all transportation sources available in the United States.

One area of concern for truck drivers is safely exiting the cab from a significant height onto a loading zone or parking lot. To ensure compliance with OSHA regulations, fall protection equipment is required in such situations. However, it’s important to note that the specific rules surrounding fall protection equipment and safety measures vary across industries. For instance, in the construction industry, employees working at a height of six feet or more must utilize fall protection equipment.

Most truck drivers are required to wear fall protection equipment when either unloading or receiving a load at a delivery location. They don’t have to wear the equipment if the site’s employees are removing the cargo items from the truck. If the truck driver needs to re-tarp a load on a highway or city-owned road, then by law, they must wear fall protection equipment during the process.

Why do truckers need fall protection equipment?

It’s not hard to imagine a truck driver who has worked in the industry for years ignoring the dangers within their work environment. Some may laugh at the notion of needing to wear fall protection equipment during their shift at work. But, there are many situations where safety is vital and should be considered.

Those working outdoors during the winter months are encouraged to wear protective gear if they’re going to be exposed to dangerous weather conditions. Elements like snow, freezing rain, and ice may cause workers to slip in certain situations. Depending on the loading zone conditions, the cargo could be a leading contributor to a workplace fall as well. It’s important to identify hazards and provide a safer working environment by wearing fall protection equipment and taking proper safety precautions when needed.

Flatbed truck fall protection, safety laws, and equipment

Several OSHA regulations require fall protection equipment to be worn by workers on flatbed trucks. The rules include how to deal with unprotected sides and edges on the trailer. OSHA requires the use of fall protection equipment if there isn’t a guardrail available to workers to help maintain their balance. In short, it’s best to have this type of equipment, especially if you are unloading or loading a flatbed trailer larger than six feet. This measure is designed to combat hazardous situations that occur daily in the transportation industry.

Flatbed safety ladders

Trailer safety ladders are not required by OSHA or the DOT, but they help prevent slips and falls when loading and unloading flatbed trailers. They attach to the side of the trailer and can support hundreds of pounds of weight safely. The best options have non-skid steps and are made of high-quality materials. Some carriers require their drivers to have a trailer ladder as part of their safety protocol. While not mandated by regulations, investing in this equipment can greatly reduce the risk of falls for truck drivers.

The Deckmate Ladder from Gateway Supply

Gateway Supply in Pampa, Texas is the United States distributor of the Deckmate Ladder, one of the highest-rated safety ladders in the industry. This ladder is tested to work in all weather conditions to ensure that it does not fail you. Call us at (806) 440-1126 or Contact Us via email to learn more about our Products.