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.