Safety Tips for Loading and Unloading Trucks to Prevent Injuries

Why Are Safety Measures During Truck Loading/Unloading Important?

The trucking industry typically involves the transportation of heavy cargo to different locations across the country. Heavy goods are lifted, loaded onto trucks, and then transported to their destination. Upon arrival, the same goods are then unloaded.

The loading/unloading process is crucial, but when done improperly, can lead to spinal injuries, truck driver elbow pain, and other serious injuries from being hit with falling cargo or lifting goods incorrectly.

Accidents during loading and unloading could also lead to cargo damage, resulting in liability for the company. As such, every truck driver and carrier company needs to practice safe loading and unloading measures and take steps to prevent or minimize the occurrence of such incidents.

If you’re involved in trucking as a driver or carrier company, and you’re wondering how to prevent trucking injuries during loading and unloading, the tips below can help. Keep reading to learn more.

Truck Loading/Unloading Safety Tips

Government authorities such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (O.S.H.A.) regulate truck loading and unloading operations at different locations, including warehouses, docks, rigs, and construction sites. The tips for truck loading/unloading practices provided here are to help you stay safe as you do your job.


Secure the Cargo Properly

Several possible hazards could arise from poorly secured cargo. For instance, if the truck moves before the cargo is secured correctly, it could fall off the truck and crush anyone nearby. The transported material could also get damaged, causing considerable loss to the company.

Furthermore, if improperly secured cargo falls while on the highway, it can cause serious road accidents that could endanger the lives of anyone present. Hence, the cargo should be tightly secured to the truck to avoid such incidents.

Note that different types of cargo need to be secured in different ways. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has the jurisdiction to lay down the rules and regulations that must be followed for securing cargo to be carried by vehicles while traveling on public highways.

Trucking companies must ensure that their employees comply with the securement rules for each cargo type.


Ensure the Vehicle Is Stationary

Loading or unloading cargo into a moving vehicle is a recipe for disaster. Therefore, all vehicles being loaded or unloaded should be completely stationary. Equipment such as wheel chocks or parking brakes may be necessary to protect the vehicles and hold them in place while loading or unloading is ongoing.


Clear the Loading Area

As much as possible, the loading and unloading zones should be completely free of obstruction from clutter, human traffic, water spills, or potholes. Also, each loading dock should be well-lit, restricted, and closed to unauthorized personnel so that loaders can easily navigate the area with minimal risk of collision with any object, person, or equipment.


Practice Safe Lifting Techniques

Loading workers often suffer shoulder, elbow, and wrist injuries caused by improper lifting. Trucking companies can minimize the risk of such injuries by training their workers on appropriate lifting techniques for the materials or equipment they may be handling. Employers can help by putting up helpful posters of proper lifting positions on the walls of the loading docks.

If ladders are used for lifting cargo, the employer must also ensure they are not overloaded and treated with skid-resistant material before use to prevent slips and falls.


Train Forklift Operators and Loading Personnel

Poorly trained drivers are a common cause of many forklift accidents. These accidents can be fatal, considering the enormity and power of the machines. They may also lead to broken bones, crushed body parts, and other traumatic injuries. Hence O.S.H.A. regulations require that forklift truck drivers be professionally trained and certified before operating one. This can help them understand what they should do in emergencies to minimize the risk of harm to themselves and others.

Beyond forklift operators, other trucking workers who load and unload materials may also require safety instructions appropriate to the material they handle. For example, unloading hazardous flammable/combustible liquids would require more caution than regular consumer goods.

Training is, therefore, essential to ensure that loaders follow the proper procedures and apply the required standard of care, which would reduce the frequency of workplace injuries during loading/unloading operations.


Use Protective Clothing/Equipment

The appropriate protective equipment or clothing for loading or unloading varies depending on the cargo. In some cases, regular clothes might suffice, but more protection may be required while dealing with others.

If the material being loaded/ unloaded is hazardous, all those involved must utilize protective equipment to cover their eyes, face, nose, head, or entire body, if necessary. This can help reduce their exposure to harm if an accident occurs.

Dealing With Employer Non-Compliance 

In most cases, the above safety measures require employer compliance and cooperation for effective implementation. Since the safety tips in question are based on O.S.H.A. standards, compliance is often mandatory. You may be able to claim compensation by filing a workers’ compensation claim against your employer for injuries sustained at your workplace while performing duties and responsibilities as an employee.

You can also report an erring employer without fear of reprisal through O.S.H.A.’s whistleblower program. This way, you can prevent or minimize workplace accidents and ensure safe working conditions for you and your colleagues.


How an Attorney Can Help


If you’ve suffered harm or injuries during the loading/ unloading process or you’ve been exposed to a work safety standard violation, you do not have to suffer or bear the cost of your treatment alone. Attorneys for injured truckers might be able to help you get compensation from your employers that could help pay for your medical expenses and any resulting disabilities.

Your lawyer can represent you throughout the compensation process and work towards an acceptable outcome, leaving you free to focus on your recovery without added stress. 

Got Questions About Loading/Unloading Injuries? Hurt Trucker Attorneys Are Here to Help

At Hurt Trucker Attorneys, we understand the difficulties associated with getting compensation for injuries sustained in the workplace. We are committed to helping truckers navigate the compensation process to get proper medical treatment and recover from their injuries without depleting their finances.

As part of our mandate, we offer free consultations to injured truckers. You can schedule a free consultation with our experienced personal injury attorneys to discuss your rights.

If you have questions about your case, contact us today to begin your compensation process!