Date PostedApril 5, 2013

Tips on How to Safely Load a Truck

LoadingTruckLoading a truck safely takes consideration and care. Not only do the goods need to reach their destination safely without any kind of damage but also it is also essential that the method of loading does not pose any risk to the safety of the vehicle driver and ultimately other road users and members of the public.

The way that loading is completed depends on the vehicle size and type as well as the type(s) of goods that are being loaded for transport, the key considerations are:

  • Safety
  • Protection of the goods
  • The cost of transportation
  • The equipment costs
  • Maximum productivity taking everything else into consideration

How to load parcels

Usually loading parcels is the most labour intensive because this type of loading is generally by hand onto the floor of the vehicle of choice.

The way that this can be made easier is through the use of conveyors that can extend into or to the vehicle, especially if it is a task that is frequently undertaken at the workplace.

If a conveyor if not an option a dock can be helpful that is level to the back of the vehicle when it is being loaded can relieve some of the intensity from the task by ensuring that the workers are working on a flat rather than raised surface.

Note: Before you start to load parcels into a vehicle inspect the floor to make sure that it is dry and clean, as the parcels will be coming into direct contact.

How to load pallets of goods

Loading loads that have been attached to pallets it can be more complex with a number of additional variables that need to be considered prior to loading such as:

  • Weight: What is the weight of each unit and will it overload the capacity of the truck or trailer when loaded. The secret is to maximise the load while matching the cubic capacity of the vehicle being loaded.
  • Pinwheeling: Can be used for loads that are traveling the farthest while the remainder is straight loaded. Pinwheeling adds stability to the load because every other pallet is loaded has its direction altered.
  • Standard Loading: Where two pallets may be loaded side by side is the quickest way of loading with pallets but may not stop loads moving during transport.
  • Extended forks: If an extended carriage is added to a forklift that has two pairs of forks, two pallets can be moved and loaded at a time. This is only appropriate for forklifts that have the load capacity and an appropriate add on.
  • Distribution of weight: It is critical to make sure that with all loads the weight is evenly distributed throughout the vehicle.

Making sure that loads are secured

Gravity cannot be relied on to secure a load and a number of different techniques and methods can be used to make sure that any load is secured safely prior to the vehicle leaving the warehouse or loading bay.

Some of the tools that can be used include:

  • Blocking
  • Cleats
  • Braces
  • Straps
  • Load bars
  • Separators
  • Webbing

Other effective methods can also be used during load preparation to help stabilize a load like stretch or shrink wraps, banding and edge protectors.

How to handle loads that are less than a full truckload

These are difficult because what may happen is that your particular loader gets unloaded and reloaded a number of times prior to reaching its destination and you have absolutely no control over that.

One of the biggest challenges is to ensure that other goods do not get loaded onto the top of yours. One way of trying to prevent this is to add cones or corrugated pyramids onto the top of loads that are on pallets and this discourages loading goods onto the top of them.

Another method is to stack pallets so that it is almost impossible to safely add a pallet or other goods onto the top of them.

It is advisable to put goods that are not a full truckload onto pallets to protect the goods more efficiently and to so that they can be moved easily with efficiency.

Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning and web strategy firm based in George St Brisbane. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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