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Flatbed Trailer Safety: Loading And Unloading Procedures

Thursday, August 17th, 2017
The best flatbed trailer safety ladder from Gateway Supply in Pampa, Texas

Safety is the number one concern for any company. If your employees are safe, they can do their jobs efficiently and on time. A single accident can throw off the workflow schedule, caused missed deadlines, and damage business partnerships. In short, good safety is good business.

A common issue confronted by flatbed truck operators and shippers is knowing the proper safety procedures for loading and unloading flatbed trailers. Unfortunately, there isn’t a step-by-step rule book describing the proper procedures. There are, however, standard guides on which your company can rely.

Understand safety vocabulary

Before you start establishing procedures, you need to be familiar with the terms associated with trucking safety. Danger zone refers to the area around the flatbed trailer that is dangerous to the driver, loaders, or third parties. The safe zone, on the other hand, is the area that is relatively safe during the loading and unloading process.

There are many terms that are used when referring to the tools that increase safety. A cheater refers to a bar that is used to increase leverage for tightening or loosening straps or chains that hold cargo down. Cranes are machines that lift cargo using slings or cables. Load securements are items used to secure loads. These items include ropes, chains, cables, straps, binders, and winches. Dunnage is the term that refers to tools used to backstop cargo in order to arrest movement. Skids are used to slide cargo on and off a truck, similar to ramps.

Critical flatbed trailer safety procedures

Knowing your danger zones is one of the most vital safety procedures truckers can follow. The zones vary depending on the type of truck and cargo that is being hauled. The danger zone can be as little as 10 feet or as much as 50 feet. When locating a danger zone, you should consider the cargo that is being loaded and unloaded and the method by which it is moved. You should also consider any potential issues that could arise.

Once your danger zones are identified, have pre-planned escape routes for emergencies. You or your workers may only have seconds to retreat from danger. Know where debris from a trailer load may fall and then establish routes to escape that should avoid harm. Sometimes the closest and safest escape zone is underneath the trailer. Additionally, all truck drivers should always pay attention when operating in danger zones.

During the loading and unloading process, the driver is the one who is most responsible and knowledgeable about securements. If you are the driver, you are expected to work closely with the loaders to help remove any securements safely. It is important that you communicate with your team, because all of you must work together and know what everyone is doing. Many accidents are caused when securements are loosened in the wrong order because the team wasn’t working together.

When using a cheater, bear in mind the force that it exerts. Keep your chin, hands, and fingers clear from the cheater when using it.

Drivers are required to comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which require drivers to conduct load checks after the first 50 miles. Truck drivers must also check their loads whenever the truck has been driven for more than 150 miles or more than three hours. Loads should be checked whenever there is a change of duty as well.

Using the Deckmate Ladder for safe loading and unloading

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when you load and unload a flatbed trailer. At any moment, a small mistake can cascade into a serious problem. It is critical that you stay vigilant for your safety and the safety of the loading team.

Professional drivers need professional tools like the Deckmate Ladder. This safety product latches onto your flatbed trailer and provides safe, efficient access when loading and unloading. Gateway Supply in Pampa, Texas is the U.S distributor of the Deckmate Ladder. Our number one concern is your safety and the safety of your team. You can call us at (806) 440-1126 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our flatbed trailer safety ladders.