Safety First: Loading and Unloading Your Vehicle

Safety is paramount for those who make a living in haulage work, and loading and unloading your vehicle can be a riskier procedure than you might think. When workers first start their job in the industry, safety regulations are explained meticulously, but it’s all too common for hauliers to start taking a few shortcuts over time.

But, as handy as these time-saving techniques may seem, it’s important to remember that insecure loads can cause damage to both the vehicle and the goods themselves.

Watch How You Go

If you’re a delivery driver and have found yourself cutting corners when loading and unloading your vehicle, stop and think. Becoming complacent and spending less time thinking about potential hazards can lead to problems with your vehicle and your loads, so it’s much better to take the time to do the job properly. With so many HGVs out there of varying shapes, sizes and weight limits, it’s vital that you know the proper procedures for how the goods are to be transported in and out of the truck.

Having to comply with the rules under supervision of a fleet manager is one thing, but being strict about how you do your job is even more difficult if you’re an owner driver. If you do haulage work on a self-employed basis, be sure to make safety checks and proper loading a daily habit so that you’re not tempted to make any dangerous choices.

Careful Planning

Before setting off to complete your job, you must be sure to plan the process and check each element in order to make sure things run smoothly. Don’t forget to:

• Consider the work environment and weather conditions
• Check your truck thoroughly for potential hazards
• Know your route and arrange backups in case of traffic issues.

When it comes to loading, you need to check the access to the truck, the vehicle and goods measurements, and finally their packaging and security.

Training is Key

Of course, the above points are brief and general – you will probably find that your company’s regulations are much more detailed. The key to remembering how to safely load and unload your specific vehicles is to ensure your training is updated frequently. There are plenty of courses available in the haulage work industry – all you’ll have to do is research and find one near you. Course topics may include:

• Handling goods at various stages
• Information about specialised lifting equipment
• How to transporting unusual loads
• Understanding basic load shift.

So, if you’re in haulage work and aren’t sure whether you’re up-to-date with your safety training, it is definitely advised that you book onto a training course just to make sure. The last thing you’ll want is an insecure load causing damage to your vehicle due to your absent-mindedness.

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers, and is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.

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