Too many truck drivers are injured every year by unsecured loads in or on the trailer. The most common of these injuries is caused by freight falling out of a box type trailer and onto the driver as he opens the trailer doors.
If freight is not secured properly at the point of loading, it can topple out on an unsuspecting driver when he opens his trailer doors, before backing into a loading dock.
Falling freight from a trailer can cause multiple injuries, including serious neck and head injuries.
There are a few things drivers can do, to ensure they are not injured by falling freight of unsecured loads.
How to Avoid Injury From Unsecured Loads
1. Be involved in the trailer loading process whenever possible. Ask the shipper to secure the load at the rear of the trailer when his finished loading. That way you can see that the freight is secured and stabled, before proceeding on your way.
2. Secure the Load Yourself, if the situation is right. If the shipper will not or does not secure that load from toppling, secure the load yourself using load locks, load bars or load straps. Advise your dispatch of the shipper’s refusal and your concerns.
Carry extra cargo securement devices, such as load bars, load bars or load straps, in case they aren’t provided by the shipper, or if you need a little extra security on the load you are pulling.
Three Basic Tools For Load Securement (Dry Vans & Reefers)
- Load Bar – The load bar has hooks on both ends that engage to logistics tracks in the trailer walls. They will prevent the load from falling and help keep the freight stable.
- Load Straps – These are particularly suited to irregular shapes of freight. They also engage into logistics tracks on the trailer wall, and the straps can be tightened to hold and secure the cargo.
- Load Bars – These bars pressure fit between trailer walls to hold freight in place. Especially suitable for trailers without logistics tracks.
3. Drive smoothly. Drive like you are driving Miss Daisy. Avoid sudden stops or fast cornering.
Be gentle if you have to slide your axles. Smooth driving is key. Be careful when stopping, backing up, bumping the dock, as freight can move.
4. Be very careful opening the rear doors when arriving at the receivers, particularly if your load is in a sealed trailer, and you were unable to check it before departure. Take extra caution when opening the trailer doors of a sealed trailer, as you won’t know if the load has been sufficiently secured when it was loaded, or what happened to the freight in transit.
Never open both rear doors at once. Open one trailer door at a time. Don’t stand in front of the door you are opening. Open the door slowly. Stand off to the side, in case the freight takes a tumble out of the trailer.
Stand to the left of the right rear door and open it slowly, looking inside before swinging the door wide open. Be ready to jump and get further out of the way if a falling load pushes the right door the rest of the way open. Don’t try to stop the door and risk getting hurt.
5. Do not leave the shipper until the load is properly secured. If you are unable to secure the load to the point you believe it is safe, call your company dispatcher for advice on your next move. It is illegal by DOT regulations to travel with an improperly secured load. It isn’t worth getting hurt, getting fines or causing unnecessary damage.
Be well aware that unsecured loads falling from the trailer, can seriously hurt a driver.
Securing the load is important. Making sure you get through your day without getting hurt is even more important.
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