When considering the loading and unloading of vehicles, it can seem as though it is a relatively straightforward task. However, it is considered to be one of the more dangerous activities that take place in all aspects of operating a vehicle that carries goods. While unloading a vehicle, the most common incidents will involve customers and staff whereby they are hit with items falling off the vehicle or even being struck by the vehicle. Along with this, it is common for staff to experience injuries when they load and unload their vehicle as they fall from the vehicle or are hit with items while unstacking them or loading them. As a result, it makes perfect sense to understand what is involved when it comes to safely loading and unloading vehicles to reduce the risk of injuries and problems.
Best Practices for Loading and Unloading
Choosing the Right Location For Loading and Unloading
When vehicles are unloaded or loaded, it’s important that this takes place in a location that is away from customers or staff. Furthermore, a dedicated area should be created, so it’s possible to load and unload the vehicle while reducing risks.
Along with this, the driver should also wait in a safe area until the process can be carried out. To ensure that the vehicle is steady and level, the ground should be level and secure as this will ensure injuries are avoided. Another considering to make are overhead cables and other dangerous obstructions that could cause problems.
Securing the Vehicle With Safety in Mind
It’s crucial that workers ensure that the vehicle is safe and secure. This means that all brakes are applied as well as any stabilizers where necessary. The aim is to ensure the load remains safe as a result of ensuring the vehicle is stable. The floor of the vehicle should also be checked and removed of any debris to avoid trips and falls, giving workers the opportunity to carry out their job safely.
Secure Shifted Loads to Prevent Injury
During transit, it’s possible that the load can shift as the vehicle moves around the road. What this means is that the stability can be compromised and that can cause it to become dangerous when any restraints are removed. So, workers should make sure that loads are safe and secure to ensure that the unloading can take place safely.
Minimizing the Risk of Falls in Employees
One of the main causes of injuries in workers is falling from the vehicle when they load and unload. This can be caused by slips and trips on restraints, ropes, blankets or other items. So, it’s important that the area on the vehicle remains clear and safe, giving workers the opportunity to access the rear of the vehicles while staying safe.
Make Access Simple and Safe for Workers
While it might seem tempting to jump on and off the vehicle, this comes with significant risks such as not reaching the back of the vehicle, jumping off and injuring a leg. Furthermore, the correct machinery should be used when lifting items onto and off the vehicle such as a forklift truck to assist with lifting. Accessing the vehicle should be done using a ramp or a raised ramp where possible, so it’s important for every business to consider how workers access the vehicle.
Access should also be clear which means that all rubbish, debris, strapping and packing materials should be removed beforehand. It’s also important that workers face the rear of the vehicle when unloading items while they should consider the surface that they are walking on as it’s vital to ensure it isn’t wet or covered in slippery substances. When exiting the vehicle after loading it, it’s important to check surroundings as it could lead to jumping in front of a moving vehicle or even hitting a pedestrian.
Correctly Secure Loads to Avoid Injuries
Loads are not just secured to protect them as they are secured as a way of keeping them in place during transit. Therefore, you should consider using load straps and anchor points. Therefore, loads should be spread evenly by employees and stacked correctly to ensure that cargo is secured adequately.
Plan the Work Correctly and Communicate Efficiently
It’s important to ensure that all work is completed to schedule and where possible to avoid busy times. This means that customers and the public and not at risk. Furthermore, employees should also be given specific instructions on where and when they should unload or wait. With the right knowledge on transport management and right communication, it can mean that risks are minimized.
While loading and unloading cannot be avoided, it’s important to make sure that all of the correct safety precautions are taken. This can help to ensure that all deliveries take place effectively, efficiently and safely. Employees should be given sufficient time to check loads and to make sure that they are suitable while they should be given the right equipment too. While the risks are always there, doing everything possible to reduce them can help to make a significant difference.