Elevated Efficiency for Trailer Loading and Unloading

Elevated Efficiency for Trailer Loading and Unloading

In 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that there were 523,796 traffic accidents involving large trucks. Out of these, 154,993 resulted in injuries, and 5,788 resulted in fatalities. These accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including driver error, vehicle malfunction, and adverse weather conditions.

Safety measures for large trucks should be taken seriously, not only when they are on the road, but also when they are stationary. Truck drivers and operators should ensure that their vehicles are properly maintained and equipped, and facilities should have proper systems in place to facilitate safe and effective loading and unloading procedures.

Handle with Care

Loading or unloading suspension-type highway trailers requires attention to detail, skill, and proper training. It is a potentially hazardous task that can result in injury if not performed properly and safely. The process of loading, balancing, and unloading cargo that is large, heavy, irregularly shaped, and/or difficult to access requires a particularly great deal of skill, caution, and proper training.

Bottom or side dump, bulk, tank, and hopper trailers have unique characteristics and loading and unloading routines, but the most widely used trailer, flatbeds, are associated with the highest level of risk and hazards. Common incidents during the loading and unloading of flatbed trailers include toppling of improperly stacked or secured cargo, breaking or failure of lashing and dunnage equipment, unsafe access to and egress from the truck or trailer bed, and falling off loading platforms.

Watch Your Step

Even the most cautious and experienced worker can avoid pinch point hazards when staging materials, never get caught in or between or struck by hazards while loading, and simply slip, trip, or fall from the trailer when the loading and unloading is complete. A trip or a slip at ground level can result in injury and falls from heights as low as five feet (the height of a standard flatbed deck) are dangerous due to a person’s reaction time (less than one second), the force of gravity and impact with the ground or a lower level.

Ensuring the loading and unloading area is equipped with a fixed or mobile work stand, that is purpose-built for loading and unloading, is the single best way to mitigate the most common hazards and near-misses workers are likely to face.

Stands with Standards

When designed for loading and loading, a work platform will fit the required work area while ensuring the safety of the worker. Mobile or stationary work stands have numerous benefits including enhanced safety, reliability, and productivity in a range of work at height truck and trailer applications. In addition to providing easy access to hard-to-reach areas, protecting cargo and trailers from damage, and improving safety for employees their proper application can make routines more efficient.

What a Purpose-Built Work Platform Will Have:

  • Optimal Height – A working-walking surface height that aligns with the height of a flatbed trailer deck, ensuring seamless access for all loading and unloading tasks.
  • Generous Dimensions – A platform that provides ample space for multiple workers and equipment to allow maximized productivity along the full length of the flatbed trailer.
  • Stairs for Easy Access – Strategically placed stairs on one or both ends for safe and stable access to the walking-working surface and trailer.
  • Stable, Non-Slip Surface – The work stand should be designed to meet the stability requirements of ANSI A14.7 and feature a non-slip walking surface that provides a secure footing that doesn’t allow tools and small equipment to drop through it.
  • Integrated Passive Safety Features – Equipped with a safety railing, self-closing gates, and toe boards on one or both sides for added compliance and safety.
  • Long-lasting Materials –  Galvanized and/or high-quality aluminum and a frame that guarantees sturdiness without compromising on weight and ensures maneuverability and performance.
  • OSHA and ANSI Standards – Designed to exceed the strictest safety standards set by OSHA 1910.23 and ANSI Z14.7.
  • Fully Bolted Assembly – a fully bolted assembly ensures stability and integrity.

OSHA/ANSI Related Codes and Standards

  • OSHA 1910.178 – This section contains safety requirements relating to use of fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, and other specialized industrial trucks powered by electric motors or internal combustion engines.
  • OSHA 1910.132 – This standard covers protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary because of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.
  • OSHA 1910.23 – This standard covers Walking-Working Surfaces and mobile ladder requirements and proper usage.
  • ANSI A14.7-2011 – This standard prescribes rules and requirements governing the proper design, construction, testing, care, use, and maintenance of mobile ladder stands and mobile ladder stand platforms including labeling/marking of these units.

Get Professional Help

FlexDecks Safety Systems offers safe and customized platform solutions for some of the toughest and hardest-working crews across the nation. Our stands and platforms prioritize safety and efficiency and strictly adhere to federal and industrial standards. We have worked with teams around the world to provide secure and efficient solutions for industrial loading and unloading operations of all sizes. With decades of experience, our engineers and fabricators are well-equipped to meet the unique needs of each customer. Invest in a reliable platform system to maintain a safe workplace. Get in touch with a FlexDecks safety specialist today.