Truck drivers can stop in anytime at Mytee Products in Aurora, OH to pick up the equipment and supplies they need for cargo control. What they do with their purchases is up to them. And while the average truck driver goes to great lengths to properly distribute and secure cargo, there are times when mistakes are made. Could a simple checklist eliminate some of those mistakes?
Equipment World published a great article in late December 2015 offering a detailed checklist for truck drivers who transport heavy haul equipment. Their checklist would serve all flatbed truck drivers well, regardless of whether they routinely transport heavy haul loads or not.
The checklist offers several dozen items under four different categories:
- Before loading
- During loading
- After loading
- Minimum tiedown requirements.
In order to demonstrate the necessity of the checklist, Equipment World also included some statistics from 2015 roadside checks. Believe it or not, there were more than 40,000 violations related to improperly secured cargo in 2015. Equipment World says that nearly 80% of the vehicles found in violation were placed out of service as a result.
Prior to Loading
This post will not go through the entire Equipment World checklist in detail, but it will highlight some of the more important facets. Needless to say that the process of safely loading and securing cargo begins long before a trailer is loaded. To start with, the driver and/or motor carrier responsible for the load must ensure the trailer chosen for the job is rated accordingly.
Motor carriers should also be looking at any special permits that might be required for the journey. Drivers should be checking over their trailers to make sure they are both safe and up to safety standards. This means checking tires, decks, and so forth.
During and after Loading
Flatbed truck drivers are almost always involved in the loading process due to the fact that they are ultimately responsible for keeping cargo secure during transport. In cases of heavy haul loads, equipment experts and engineers may also be on-site to help supervise. In either case, drivers immediately begin the task of securing cargo once it has been loaded.
Securing must be handled in accordance with federal and state regulations. For example, the correct number of tie-downs must be used in accordance with the weight of the load and the working load limits of the tie-downs. Drivers must choose appropriate anchor points as well.
The Purpose of a Checklist
The few basics mentioned in this post do not even scratch the surface of cargo control. There are so many points to consider that drivers and carriers can easily forget one or two in the process. This makes the case for developing a cargo control checklist.
A checklist prepared separate from the actual loading in securing of any particular load should take into account all the points covered by federal and state regulations. Once developed, a checklist can be used for any kind of load a driver might transport.
Why is a checklist of good idea? Because it removes any ambiguity that might exist from one load to the next. A driver can simply go down his or her checklist point-by-point, making sure things are done properly at every step. A checklist makes it possible to thoroughly evaluate the security of a load without any anxiety, doubt, or distraction getting in the way.
Mytee Products encourages flatbed truck drivers to use a cargo control checklist for every load. Even a simple checklist can help eliminate the kinds of mistakes that put trucks out of service.