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Safety Around Vehicles

By: Matt Schiefferly
Vice President Safety Services


In working around vehicles while driving, parking, or loading and unloading safety needs to be at the forefront of all activities. There are several dangers when working around vehicles, but if you follow some simple safety rules injuries can be avoided.

  1. Take the time to get yourself familiar with the vehicle. Know how to use the equipment on board like cargo straps and walkboards. Know how they attach and how to store them properly. Know where the first aid kit and accident investigation kit are located and how to use them. If any items on the truck are damaged or worn don’t use them and let the appropriate person at your company know about the damage.

  2. Keep your work area clean. Keep furniture pads out of walking areas while loading and unloading, store used packing materials in an empty box, keep food wrappers and other trash out of the cab, and keep all load straps off the floor to avoid tripping. General housekeeping not only improves safety, but makes you look more professional in the eye of the customer.

  3. Be careful when entering and exit the cab. Be sure and use the handrail and always enter and exit with the three point entry technique. (The three point technique is when you always have at least three points of contact with the vehicle, either two hands and a foot or two feet and your hand) This technique will prevent you from falling or jumping to the ground. Many times drivers or helpers are injured when they jump from the cab and slip and fall when they hit the ground. Injuries can also occur to your knees, back or ankles when you don’t fall, but suffer a jarring of the body from the jump.

  4. When loading or unloading a truck or trailer make sure that the vehicle is secure, the walkboard is stable and in place. Similar to the cab make sure you don’t have to jump in and out of the trailer. If there is no walkboard or loading dock use the three point system. When working with a loading dock make sure the vehicle is backed to the dock. Avoid large spaces that you could fall through when carrying boxes. Make sure the loading area is of similar height to the dock to avoid trips and falls.

  5. When getting ready to load or unload, park the truck or trailer where you can have the best access and won’t be in danger of other traffic. Pick a spot that allows other vehicles to have adequate access. Many parking lots and driveways are cramped so check to make sure there is good visibility for other drivers to see you working. Use cones or triangles in areas of limited visibility such as sharp corners or narrow streets.

These are the basic points that apply to safety around vehicles. If you have any questions or need help with your safety and loss control programs please contact Matt Schiefferly @ Paul Hanson Insurance Services (800) 852-1968 or e-mail Matts@Paulhanson.com. Visit our web page for other information vital to your company or the transportation industry at www.paulhanson.com. Our web site now allows for the reporting of claims, MVR requests, vehicle additions and deletions and more.