Staying safe on the road is extremely important. After all, you’re driving an 80,000-pound hunk of metal, rubber and flammable materials.
However, whether due to exhaustion or in an effort to save time, many truck drivers ignore basic job safety when they’re off the road. Unfortunately, an 86-year-old Kansas trucker learned this the hard way when, as he opened his trailer doors, he was struck, dragged and killed by a tractor trailer at a Georgia distribution center. The other driver didn’t even know he hit him, suggesting he wasn’t as alert as he should have been.
Truck driving can be a grueling, time-consuming profession. However, it is important to stay safe at all times, including when you’re not behind the wheel. Here are eight tips for staying safe at warehouses and any other high-risk work-areas.
1 – Confirm it’s Safe to Drive
Any time you’re about to drive, be sure nobody is near your truck. Visually confirm this by walking around it.
2 – Slow Down
Speeding increases the time it takes to stop your truck. It also reduces your reaction time. And, even if you spot that object or person in front, it’s more difficult to avoid a collision at high speeds.
While you’re probably not going 70 as you approach a loading dock, take it easy on the accelerator.
3 – Use Trailer Brakes
Follow your manufacturer’s instructions when parking. That said, if you’re on a hill, be sure to engage both your tractor and trailer brakes. A Canadian man was hit by his own truck after failing to engage them back in January.
4 – Wear Reflective Clothing
When working outside your truck, be sure to wear reflective clothing. Doing so will make you more visible to other drivers and thus reduce your chance of being struck.
5 – Use Wheel Chocks
Use wheel chocks to prevent your trailer from rolling.
6 – Stand Clear of the Loading Zone
Bizarre and sometimes fatal accidents occur in loading zones. For example, in 2004, a trucker was killed when a pallet of wood fell on him as he watched a forklift operator unload his truck.
If someone else is loading or unloading your truck, stand clear.
7 – Stay Uphill of Moving Loads
Stay uphill of moving loads in case a problem arises. For example, if a truck’s brakes fail or a load of hay bales rolls off the back, you won’t want to be downhill of it.
8 – Ask for Assistance
When unloading or otherwise attempting to move heavy objects, ask for assistance if you need it. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself while rushing to get the job done. And guys, most people won’t think you’re less masculine if you need help unloading a 150-pound package!
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