12 Safety Measures for Secure Loading Operations

Transporting loads is a very dangerous operation. It might seem like a simple task of getting stuff from one place and bringing it to another. But loading, unloading and transporting cargo can cause serious injury and even fatality. Workers loading and unloading cargo are exposed to serious danger in that heavy objects may hit or fall on them if they don’t follow the right loading and unloading safety procedures.

Drivers may meet accidents if they don’t drive safely while carrying heavy loads. The same thing can happen if the weight of the cargo is not distributed well, thus compromising the driver’s control of the vehicle. What makes transporting loads more dangerous is the possibility of risking lives of other drivers on the road. This can happen when loads are not securely fastened to the vehicle and they end up rolling onto the road and hitting other vehicles or obstructing their path.

12 Quick Tips

  • Loading areas should always have good lighting. They should also be away from both vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Loading areas should be firm, flat and free from potholes and other obstructions that may cause slips or trips.
  • Inspect the vehicle and make sure that horns, reflectors, lights and other safety features are in good condition.
  • Provide guards for dangerous parts of the vehicle such as chain drives, power take-off and exposed exhaust pipes.
  • Before loading transport, ensure that the vehicle is braked and stabilized.
  • Clean off first any junk or loose materials (crates, cables, wires, chains, and bins) in the vehicle before loading tools or equipment.
  • A rule of thumb when securing cargo in the vehicle: one tie-down must be used for every ten feet of cargo. Make sure, though, to use at least two tie-downs for any cargo regardless of its length.
  • Use a red flag to mark loads that extend more than three feet beyond the body of the vehicle. When transporting cargo at night, use a red light instead.
  • Use at least 4 binders for loads like pipes and logs that are 27 feet long. Ensure that the spacing between binders is equal.
  • Never load unsecured items on the backseat or rear window deck of the vehicle. This can cause the load to hit passengers or the driver when the vehicle comes to a sudden stop.
  • As much as possible, use a compartment or tool box to keep small items secure in a vehicle. If this is not feasible, use a tarp to cover the small items, making sure that it is securely tied down with ropes or straps.
  • When on the road, stop frequently to check your cargo. This is all the more necessary when traveling long distances.