The way you secure your cargo can make the difference between a successful delivery a ...
nd a very bad day.
Proper cargo securement is vital for safe transport.
Loads that are not balanced correctly or that shift during transit can throw off the truck’s handling and cause it to flip. A load that is badly secured can fall onto a driver or someone else, leading to injury or even death.
To prevent such incidents, drivers must know how to secure cargo correctly according to National Safety Code Standard 10. They also need to understand how to stay safe while carrying out this important task to avoid:
- Falls when working on top of a load, inside the trailer, or on ramps
- Overexertion injuries
- Being struck by another vehicle when adjusting/checking a load on the roadside
Any fall can cause an injury. Just landing awkwardly can break a bone, tear muscles, or cause head injuries. A fall from a height, such as a loading ramp, a trailer, or the top of a load, is even more dangerous. The safety handout Don’t Fall For It describes how to avoid falls while loading/unloading by:
- Wearing proper footwear
- Checking that dock plates are in place
- Clearing away slip and trip hazards (e.g., banding debris)
- Ensuring that trailer access steps, ladders, and handholds are in good condition
Some drivers casually jump down from loading docks, cabs, or trailers—a bad habit. Jumping from even a short height means your body has to absorb the impact of landing. According to 6 Tips to End Trucking Workplace Injuries, “As drivers age, those jolts to the joints will catch up to them—if they don’t immediately injure themselves by landing the wrong way.” A jump can easily turn into a fall, especially when the landing is slippery or unstable. Drivers should never jump. Always use steps, ladders, and proper handholds. Don’t forget to maintain three-point contact.
Handling cargo, tarps, or straps the wrong way can cause overexertion injuries, such as sprains, strains, and muscle damage. For example, workers may be injured when they use their bodies to move pallets that should be moved mechanically or rearrange cargo that has been loaded improperly.
Drivers can reduce the risks by learning proper techniques and using the right equipment. The Load Smart tip sheet recommends placing cargo so it can be moved safely using hand trucks or pallet jacks. It also advises employers to educate drivers on how to identify and deal with risk factors like pinch points, slippery working surfaces, and heavy or unstable loads.
The side of a busy road is never a completely safe place. Often drivers have no choice but to pull over to adjust or check a load. To minimize the dangers, drivers need training in setting up a safe roadside work zone and appropriate safety equipment such as high-visibility vests, reflective safety triangles, cones, emergency lights, and flares. Drivers should remind themselves of the hazards by asking:
- Is this the best place to pull over?
- Am I pulling over far enough?
- Can I exit the vehicle safely and work around the truck without crossing the fog line?
- Can I position the truck as a barrier between me and other vehicles?
- Is my placement of cones, triangles, and road flares giving other motorists enough time to react so they can slow down and change lanes?
On February 24, 2021, SafetyDriven is sponsoring Securing Your Safety, a free webinar on load securement hosted by Road Safety At Work. Register now to attend or to access the event recording after the webinar.
For more free resources related to working at heights, overexertion, manual material handling, and other health and safety topics, visit SafetyDriven.ca.
Safety is key to the success of any transport company. Successful companies strive to ...
have a solid workplace safety culture. It helps employees feel valued and shows clients that you are reputable and take your work seriously.
Safety is the foundation of your success
Establishing an effective safety culture doesn’t come from the top down, with the executive imposing rules that everyone has to follow, or else, because it’s legislated. It’s more than worker buy-in, too. It comes from corporate values that line up with personal attitudes to create a safety environment that works for everyone. It doesn’t happen by accident; you need a plan and some strategies.
For safety success, every company needs an effective health and safety policy supported by a joint health and safety committee, best practices, and resources that help you communicate with workers and clients.
Health and Safety Policy
A good health and safety policy sets out your safety principles in writing. You can post it where everyone in your business can read it and share it easily with clients and auditors. It should list the legislation you follow, such as the Canada Labour Code Part II, the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulation under the inspection jurisdiction of WorkSafeBC, and the Workers Compensation Act of BC. It should also make commitments about how you’ll meet your goals, such as by providing a safe workplace and recognizing your employees’ rights.
Joint Health and Safety Committee
The Workers Compensation Act requires employers to set up a joint health and safety committee (JHSC) if they employ 20 or more full-time and part-time workers. Companies with more than nine but fewer than 20 workers must have a health and safety representative who has the same role as a committee. The JHSC, or representative, helps reduce workplace injury and disease. You won’t be on your own to establish your committee. SafetyDriven provides WorkSafeBC’s handbook and keeps you informed about changes to regulations.
- Composition of committee. The Workers Compensation Act requires your JHSC to have at least four members made up of worker and employer representatives. At least half the members must be workers. The committee must have two co-chairs, one chosen by worker representatives and one by employer representatives.
- Role. The JHSC promotes workplace health and safety; consults with workers and employers; recommends improvements to health and safety policies and practices; and promotes compliance with the legislation.
- Duties and functions. The JHSC, or representative, identifies unsafe situations and recommends ways to address them; advises the employer of required programs and policies; and makes sure inspections and accident investigations are done.
Your aim for setting up best practices for your workplace is safety, which means keeping your workers safe, healthy and on the job. Employers and managers can support such practices by thinking of safety as a shared responsibility. Show support by committing to a safe workplace and modelling the attitude and behaviour you want to see in your workers. Communication is key. You can promote and champion safety programs by spreading the word. Communication is especially important for a transportation company where a large portion of the workforce is often far away from the head office. Doing regular evaluations backs up your programs by examining how well your policies work and making improvements. Transportation companies also benefit by earning the Certificate of Recognition.
SafetyDriven provides practical resources to help companies establish and promote their safety programs. Posters; safety articles; handouts; and templates and forms, including checklists, are available for free. Use them to communicate with your workforce, to support good safety practices, and to organize your safety activities.
As you prepare your company for safety success, there are plenty of companies to provide inspiration, including Quality Move Management, Alchemist Specialty Carriers, F&G Delivery, Kool Pak Canada, and the many COR certified companies that have worked with SafetyDriven.