Although loading or unloading a trailer can seem straightforward, several factors must be considered. Regarding loading and offloading trailers, there are plenty of hazards to be aware of. The specific risks posed by the task will vary depending on the delivery location set-up, equipment used, trailer type, etc. Below are common hazards to consider:
- During loading and unloading the trailer, struck-by hazards are a significant concern. Struck-by hazards can include the tanks shifting or moving, as well as any equipment being used coming loose and hitting or dropping on the employee.
- Slips, trips, and falls are also a concern. The task of helping to load or unload the trailer by climbing on and off can pose a significant fall hazard if not done so in the proper manner.
- Poor housekeeping or material on the ground, such as straps or chains, debris etc. can pose a trip hazard.
- Pinch point hazards are also common while loading or unloading trailers. These hazards are common to encounter when lifting objects and setting up materials on site.
- Caught-in or between hazards are present whenever heavy equipment is moving, or the load is being moved.
- Strains and sprains are another issue to be aware of. When loading and unloading manually, body position and posture are an important factor.
Understanding the company policies and procedures, preplanning and communication are critical to ensure a smooth loading and unloading process. Two significant areas to consider:
- The load itself
- With each job, consider how the trailer is loaded and what types of tanks are being transported.
- To safely load or unload the tanks from the trailer, what tools, equipment, and personnel are needed?
- Inspect each load for security and stability prior to transportation.
- Driver expectations
- Consider the expectations of drivers coming onto each site? Some items that need to be discussed with the employees delivering materials include entry point to the site, delivery times, speed limits, escort requirements, personal protective equipment requirements, truck and trailer requirements, phone numbers, specific site and material hazards, etc.
- Consider a parking location that would be the safest and most level surface to work from.
- Is there a safe way to access tanks to unload from the ground or are appropriate fall protection safeguards in place to prevent a fall from the top of the load?
- Assess the path and area that tanks will be unloaded and transported to. Remove or eliminate obstacles where possible and plan the best path to be used.
- Be aware of body posture and positioning when moving items and move intentionally with awareness.