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Helpful Flatbed Truck Safety Inspection Tips For Drivers

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019
flatbed truck driver trailer safety tips

Being a flatbed truck driver can be extremely dangerous at times. The job will expose you to a high risk level of getting injured, but the majority of mishaps can be avoided. In the past, trucking companies created a laundry list of safety reminders. These were often never enforced, which caused many truckers to become hurt and miss work.

To help combat injury, the United States federal government enacted the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) Initiative in 2010. This replaced all the outdated regulations for flatbed truck safety inspections. The new rules were designed to make the trucking industry safer for drivers, shipping and receiving department workers, and anyone who comes in contact with cargo. This initiative puts more scrutiny on truck drivers, who now hold greater responsibility for safety.

The Carrier Safety Management System

A large part of the CSA initiative was creating a carrier safety management system. This was designed to monitor how truckers comply with the new rules on their routes.

 

The current safety system is based on data tracking and scores drivers in the following seven categories.

  1. Driving safety
  2. Hours traveling on the road
  3. Fitness levels
  4. Accident history
  5. Current flatbed truck maintenance
  6. Hazardous material compliance
  7. Substance abuse history

Tips for reducing roadside inspections

Traveling on major roads can cause some unnecessary distractions for truck drivers. The CSA initiative has increased scrutiny on flatbed truck drivers which has led to more roadside inspections. Truckers should pay more attention to following cargo control guidelines. This may lessen the likelihood of being stopped for a roadside inspection.

It’s best to avoid re-tarping on the road as well. This is because the process should be completed before leaving the loading zone, regardless of how long it takes. If you have to re-tarp or secure the cargo, it is best to do so at a rest stop or parking lot.

The cargo load should never move when the flatbed truck is in transit. It’s the truck driver’s responsibility to block or chain the cargo load in place on top of the trailer.

You can also do the following to reduce roadside inspections.

  • Routinely check the winch straps for wear-and-tear from continuous use. Replace these when necessary.
  • All hazardous or dangerous cargo loads should be adequately marked before transport.
  • All cargo loads should be inspected periodically while en route to its final destination.

Flatbed driving safety tips

Following general safety tips is also important to stay compliant with CSA regulations. The following will keep you, other drivers, and your cargo safe.

  • Ensure the items on top of your flatbed trailer are firmly secured before beginning your trip.
  • Do not avoid inspections completely. They are necessary because overlooking a worn piece of equipment could cause harm to others on the road, especially if cargo becomes
  • Flatbed cargo is more dangerous to those who load and unload trailers. Try to refrain from jumping on-and-off a flatbed trailer during this task. Always try to dismount from the flatbed trailer by using the steps of the loading zone or the truck’s ramp itself. Using a flatbed safety ladder is also a great option.
  • Always wear protective gear when securing the cargo load on top of the flatbed trailer, including gloves and a high-visibility vest. Wearing protective gear and equipment just may save your life.
  • Never climb on top of the cargo load and stand clear of the trailer when a wheel is being replaced.
  • Ask for help when you’re attempting to apply or remove the tarp off a cargo load.
  • It’s important to familiarize yourself with the cargo control equipment stored on your flatbed truck, especially if this is your first time driving the vehicle.
  • Finally, always be aware of your surroundings on the road and avoid hitting any debris.

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