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.
Small steps create big changes
New Year’s resolutions seem inevitable; there is so ...
mething about the start of a new year that encourages a fresh start in many areas of our lives. More often than not, we don’t follow through on our good intentions for long.
Studies have shown that 80% of new year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February, mainly because resolutions tend to be lofty, vague, and driven by motivations that do not involve the most important thing—changing your mindset. So instead of setting resolutions, think about setting a few small, attainable goals related to your attitude.
To improve your safety attitude, think about what annoys or frustrates you the most while driving. Is it your own abilities or limitations? Perhaps it’s the behaviour of other road users or how you respond when other drivers do something you find annoying. As drivers, we can’t change how others drive; we can only change how we respond.
Being a professional driver is more than being paid to operate a vehicle; it requires a certain mentality to keep you doing your job safely. This exercise is to help you be the best you can be. Begin with small steps, realizing that meeting a few small goals can solve larger problems.
The first step is to do an inventory of your driving attitudes—what are your strong points? What gets your back up or interferes with your attention to your job? Be very honest with yourself. Think about feedback you’ve gotten from your fleet manager and improvements you can make to have a safer attitude. Think about your good habits and the ways you are already a safe driver.
Once you’ve determined where your attitude could use a tune-up, consider small goals that will work together to help you refresh your attitude. You may find it helpful to write a list or brainstorm with colleagues, your fleet manager, or a professional. Talking with colleagues can be especially helpful; it’s always possible they’ve gone through the same exercise and can suggest solutions.
For example, if you have a problem staying calm when other road users make poor decisions, remember to focus on the driving environment to shut down road rage. Consider adopting these behaviours until you can handle others’ behaviours without breaking a sweat:
- Don’t trust that other drivers will do what’s right on the road. Be aware that every driver has limitations and you can only account for your own.
- Look ahead in traffic and read the signs to anticipate problems. Responding early to potential problems reduces stress by giving you more time to react to a dangerous situation.
- Follow speed limits and adjust for road conditions, especially in winter.
- Use good space management. Always attempt to create as much space around your vehicle as possible to give you room to manoeuvre if another driver makes an unsafe change. It also gives the other driver room to move without causing a collision.
- Never tailgate. You can’t see what’s in front of the vehicle ahead of you.
Staying safe on the road has a lot to do with attitude supported by good safety practices. As a professional driver, you are responsible for your own safety and that of others. Having a clear plan to avoid driving conflicts every day goes a long way. The new year will undoubtedly bring daily driving challenges along with the opportunity for a fresh start. But don’t expect change if you aren’t willing to make a change.