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Flatbed Truck Driver Safety Tips: Loading And Unloading Trailers

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

The trucking industry is known to be dangerous, especially for truckers on the road. But, loading and unloading flatbed trailers presents a different set of risks. Large objects can crush truckers during loading if they slip. New and experienced drivers alike can slip and fall from their trailer while adjusting a load. This is why following safety procedures is so important.

Safety regulations from OSHA and DOT

Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the US Department of Transportation (DOT) have safety standards that must be followed. DOT regulates the trucks themselves, as well as truckers entering and exiting the cab. OSHA monitors safety when it comes to other areas of a commercial vehicle, like a flatbed trailer. Their regulations state that workers must have protection when working on unprotected surfaces that are 4 feet or more above a lower level. Safety net systems, personal fall protection, and guardrails are considered adequate.

Protecting yourself and your workers

If you or your workers do not have adequate protection, you can perform a safety evaluation to see what can be done. Consider the nature of each task, the equipment, and the tools that pose a risk, where safety is needed most, and what options are available.

There are many products available that can keep workers safe when they are loading and unloading their flatbed trailers. You may need all or only one of these depending on the above factors.

Guardrail systems: These can be placed permanently in loading areas or on commercial vehicles. The designs that attach to a trailer use a top and mid rail. They are easy to use but do come with weight and size limits.

Personal fall protection: These safety systems use a body harness, connecting device, and an anchor. This option is less expensive than a guardrail system, but the level of safety it provides depends on how the trucker uses it. Training is required to get the most out of personal fall protection devices.

Mobile loading platforms: These should be flat and sturdy. They come with guardrails and can be placed along the trailer or truck in a variety of ways. They are one of the least expensive options.

Trailer safety ladders: There are many kinds of trailer ladders available. Some retract under the trailer, attach safely to a tire, or attach to the rub rails on the trailer. The Deckmate Ladder is a trailer safety ladder that attaches to the rub rails of your vehicle. If you don’t have rub rails, there are mounting brackets available to hook on the trailer first.

Safety tips for flatbed truck drivers

Here are some general safety tips for loading and unloading flatbed trailers and other commercial vehicles.

  • Make sure your loading areas are well lit, clear of debris, and flat.
  • Ensure that the vehicle’s safety mechanisms (the lights, horn, breaks, etc,…) are working before loading or unloading cargo.
  • Make sure everyone working near the vehicle is aware of what is happening.
  • Clean any loose tools, junk, and equipment off the flatbed trailer before accessing it.
  • Use enough tie downs to secure the load.
  • Distributing the weight of a load is vital to keeping it secure. Make sure this is done before you start your delivery.
  • Truckers should check their load frequently. Keep in mind safety procedures when doing this, like pulling off the road, finding a well-lit area, and using a trailer ladder to move up and down the trailer.

The Deckmate Ladder from Gateway Supply

Gateway Supply in Pampa, Texas is the United States distributor of the Deckmate Ladder. This safety device is lightweight, made of strong steel, and can hold up to 400 pounds. It is used in many industries across the country, including mining, transportation, and even the U.S. government. For more information about our Products, call us at (806) 665-7990 or Send Us an Email.