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New To Driving Flatbed Trucks? These Safety Tips Can Help!

Monday, October 15th, 2018

If you have just started out driving a flatbed truck, it is natural to be nervous about the safety of yourself, other drivers, and your cargo. This means you’re taking your job seriously. Your goal should be to learn as much as possible and always get your cargo loaded and unloaded safely. To help you accomplish these goals, here are some basic safety tips you should know.

Working with loads on your flatbed trailer

First, never move a load that isn’t secure, even if you only need to go a few feet. Once the load is on your truck, it is your responsibility to keep it safe. If you have a shipping boss that is ordering you to move the load before you feel it is secure, refuse until you are sure it is safe. This is for their safety, your safety, the safety of the ground crew, and to protect the load.

Second, use the appropriate, not smallest, number of chains or straps to secure a load on your flatbed. The minimum rule is one chain for every 10,000 pounds of weight. But, there is no rule about using more chains or straps. The requirements to secure loads can vary from state to state, so check out the local regulator to confirm these regulations.

Third, after the first hour of driving, pull over and check every load. As you drive, your cargo will settle, which could loosen the straps. It is always best to check it out to make sure it is still secure. Be sure to pull over where it is safe, typically in a parking lot or rest area.

Trailer and equipment safety tips

These tips focus on caring for your flatbed truck and its equipment. First, take care of your tools and supplies. If you take care of your tools, they will take care of you. Put your chains (don’t let them tangle) and grease binders away to prevent them from getting jammed.

Second, carry back-ups of everything you have like gloves, tarps, straps, cords, and bungees. This equipment will fail if used for too long and you don’t want to be stuck mid-trip without a replacement. You should also keep a cordless drill and Allen key with you to quickly roll-up your straps for travel.

Third, keep a hard hat, safety glasses, sturdy gloves, and a vest in your truck at all times. Most locations will require you to wear “personal protective equipment” or (“PPE”) like this at all times.

Finally, keep a pair of coveralls handy. When you’re securing loads in a muddy or dusty environment, you will be grateful that your clothes (and the inside if your cab) aren’t dirty.

Safety equipment for flatbed trucks

Always use safety equipment when accessing your trailer or working with your load. Climbing up and down a flatbed trailer is one of the quickest ways to become injured. Slips and falls are common in the trucking industry, so you should be sure to avoid them.

You can use safety systems at loading docks, like harness systems, nets, and tarping systems. But, you should also have your own gear available while on the road. This includes a portable trailer ladder. These should be sturdy and capable of holding hundreds of pounds. They should also be easy to use and have non-slip steps.

Flatbed trailer safety with Gateway Supply

It is important to follow every safety procedure, whether you are a new driver or a more experienced one. If you would like more information about trailer safety ladders, contact Gateway Supply in Pampa, Texas. We are the U.S. distributor of the Deckmate Ladder, one of the highest rated safety ladders in the industry. The Deckmate Ladder is tested to work in windy, rainy, and dry conditions to ensure that it does not fail. Call us at (806) 440-1126 or Contact Us via email to learn more about our Products.