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Fall Protection Laws For The Trucking Industry

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

The winter holidays are a busy time for families and businesses alike. Whether transporting personal items or supplies for businesses, the trucking industry is bustling. Despite the high demands, truck drivers will have to navigate through cold and dangerous weather.

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. This makes it hard to pinpoint where regulations need to apply and where they do not. The following details safety laws and equipment that are made to keep truckers in any area safe.

Who’s at risk for falls?

Workers in the trucking industry are at the highest risk of falls because many of their workspaces are lifted off the ground. It doesn’t matter if they’re driving a flatbed truck, tanker, or another commercial vehicle. Usually, most drivers must access heights of four feet and higher at some point. This is true of loading docks as well as cabs and trailers.

Most commercial truck beds are protected by guardrails or with an enclosed trailer, so there is no need to use fall protection equipment. 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.

The area of concern for truck drivers is getting out of the cab area from a high distance onto a loading zone or parking lot. OSHA requires the use of fall protection equipment in these conditions, but the rules are different for each industry. For example, the construction industry requires fall protection equipment for employees working at a height of six feet and higher.

Most truck drivers are required to wear fall protection equipment when either removing 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 off 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 own 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, sleet, 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. It’s important to identify hazards and provide a safer working environment by wearing fall protection equipment when needed.

Flatbed truck fall protection, safety laws, and equipment

Several OSHA regulations require fall protection equipment to be worn by workers on a flatbed truck. 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 the workers are unloading or loading a flatbed trailer larger than six feet. This is designed to combat hazardous situations that occur daily in the transportation industry.

Flatbed safety ladders

These ladders are not required by OSHA or the DOT, but they can 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.

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.