Workplace safety includes driving and transporting. If you load cargo wrong or do not secure it properly, it can be a danger to others and yourself. Loose cargo that falls off a vehicle can cause traffic problems and others could be hurt or killed. Loose cargo could hurt or kill you during a quick stop or accident. Your vehicle could be damaged by an overload. Steering could be affected by how a vehicle is loaded, making it more difficult to control the vehicle. The operator of the transport vehicle is responsible for:
— Inspecting the cargo.
— Recognizing overloads and poorly balanced weight.
— Knowing the cargo is properly secured and does not obscure the view ahead or to the sides.
— Knowing the cargo does not restrict access to emergency equipment.
Transport Vehicle Inspections
As part of your vehicle inspection, make sure the truck is not overloaded and the cargo is balanced and secured properly.
Inspect the cargo and its securing devices again within the first 50 miles after beginning a trip. Make any adjustments needed. Re-check the cargo and securing devices as often as necessary during a trip to keep the load secure. Federal, state, and local regulations for commercial vehicle weight, securing cargo, covering loads, and where you can drive large vehicles vary from place to place. Know the rules where you will be driving.
You must keep weights within legal limits. Overloading can have bad effects on steering, braking, and speed control. Overloaded trucks have to go very slowly on upgrades. Worse, they may gain too much speed on downgrades. Stopping distance increases. Brakes can fail when forced to work too hard. The height of the vehicle’s center of gravity is very important for safe handling. A high center of gravity (cargo piled up high or heavy cargo on top) means you are more likely to tip over. It is most dangerous in curves, or if you have to swerve to avoid a hazard. It is very important to distribute the cargo so it is as low as possible. Put the heaviest parts of the cargo under the lightest parts.
Proper Loading Makes for Safe Handling
Poor weight balance can make vehicle handling unsafe. On flatbed vehicles, there is also a greater chance that the load will shift to the side or fall off. On flatbed trailers or trailers without sides, cargo must be secured to keep it from shifting or falling off. Tiedowns must be of the proper type and proper strength.
Over-length, over-width, and/or overweight loads require special transit permits. Driving is usually limited to certain times. Special equipment may be necessary such as “wide load” signs, flashing lights, flags, etc. These special loads require special driving care. When the load on any vehicle extends 4 feet (48 inches) or more beyond the rear of the body, a solid red or fluorescent orange flag at least 12 inches square must be placed at the extreme end of the load.
A load extending 1 foot or more to the left on any vehicle must have an amber light on the extreme left side of the load. It must be visible at least 300 feet to the front and rear during darkness. If the load extends more than 120 inches, there must be an amber lamp at the front and a red lamp at the rear, each visible at least 300 feet. If the vehicle is wider than 102 inches, a red or fluorescent flag not less than 12 inches square must be displayed at the left front and left rear during daylight. Lastly, make sure the load does not block the view from any of your mirrors. In this photo, the driver cannot see any traffic on his right side.
This safety topic is just one of the hundreds of different topics
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