Safe loading / Unloading

Whenever you’re loading at a facility, be it loading a van at a loading dock or loading a flat deck outside, always exercise extreme caution and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment at all times.

Most facilities have a minimum requirement for PPE, which is closed-toe shoes and a hi-vis reflective vest. Exceeding the requirements is never a bad thing, as there is no such thing as being too careful.

When on a loading dock to count freight being loaded or unloaded, be sure to stay out of the way of moving equipment. This may sound obvious, but every year drivers are injured when struck by moving forklifts. While closed-toed shoes may be a requirement, it’s recommended that instead of running shoes, wear steel-toe boots. If and when you get a forklift running over your foot, or something falls on your foot, you’ll appreciate the steel toes.

Before you back into or pull out of a loading dock, visually inspect the dock leveling plate and truck securement system, if they have one, for proper operation. Before pulling away from a loading dock, always ensure your load locks are in place, the dock plate has been removed, the dock lock has been disengaged and the overhead door is closed. There are far too many instances where a driver has pulled away with a forklift in the trailer, or worse, a forklift just about to enter the trailer.

If you’re loading or unloading an open deck, always wear your hard hat and steel toes when outside the truck. When the forklifts are in motion, always keep them in sight, and never work on the opposite side of the trailer while being loaded or unloaded. If you need to place dunnage on the trailer, be sure to make eye contact with the loader before getting close to the load or the trailer, and never under any circumstance be on the trailer while it’s being loaded. Just last week a lumber yard had an incident where a driver walked under a load of lumber suspended 10 feet off the ground on a forklift!

The link below shows what can happen when simple safety rules are ignored. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Don Taylor has been a professional driver since March 1985.  In 1994 he made the jump to driving tractor trailers, and has accumulated over 3.5 million miles, including over 4 years of driving turnpike doubles in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.  He is currently hauling flat decks across North America.