As you have traveled this summer, you have no doubt encountered all kinds of unusual items on highways and byways. We all have carefully steered to avoid misplaced sandals, scattered plywood, bumpers, hubcaps and other car parts strewn across the roads. These unsecured items can be dangerous to drivers, but we often experience them as more of a nuisance than a hazard.
Poorly secured cargo is a much more pressing concern when it is carried by large trucks. As drivers know well, a load can shift toward the back or front of the cargo container or bed. In the worst-case scenario, this can create a frightening and dangerous instability that can contribute to a roll-over or accident. This is concerning, considering that single-vehicle accidents lead to about 8,000 deaths per year. Unsecured cargo can also come loose, spilling dangerous obstacles, like huge stacks of wood and shingles, into the road.
Mitigating cargo risks with proper securement
Along with hiring safe drivers, proper loading and securing of materials is an essential component to completing a delivery safely and without incident. Drivers must follow weight limits and properly distribute load weights on the truck or trailer. The condition of load straps and securements also matters. During daily vehicle inspection, the driver should review the wear and tear of straps and securements. They should be maintained in good condition, and the company should replace any frayed or worn straps. Straps should be positioned and adequately tightened to secure the load and prevent the load from shifting during travel.
Many of these guidelines also apply to boom trucks or trucks with Moffetts or other equipment. The driver should check to make sure the boom or forklift is properly positioned and secured. The driver is usually responsible for securing any load, but it is a good practice to have a designated employee verify load security prior to the vehicle leaving the yard.
Meeting federal standards
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) publishes detailed cargo securement rules intended to reduce the number of accidents caused by cargo shifting within or falling from commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce. These rules apply to any commercial vehicle and any type of cargo, with different specifications for certain types of cargo, including lumber.
You can visit our website for detailed information on meeting the FMSCA requirements, as well as other information on protecting your drivers and fleet. As a leader in the protection of lumber and building material dealers for nearly 125 years, we have developed a deep expertise and understanding of the industry’s risk exposures. If you are ready to work with an insurance company that knows your business inside and out, ask your insurance agent or broker about PLM, find a PLM representative at www.plmins.com or call 1-800-752-1895.