by | Automobile, Vehicles & Equipment |

Almost every industry relies on trucking to move their products. When freight needs to be moved, there are many unique exposures to consider. Lumber yards, trash haulers, gravel operations and many other industries need to tarp their loads to keep their products secure as they travel down the highway.

There are some general rules to follow when putting a tarp on a load. First, it is always best to engineer the hazard out of the equation. Utilizing engineering controls is a strategy to change a design, a piece of equipment or a process to eliminate a hazard and improve safety. A key engineering practice for tarping a load is to prevent anyone from climbing on top of the load. For instance, consider installing an overhead bridge crane. When a loaded truck is parked under the bridge crane, the crane can be used to hoist a tarp onto a load. Additionally, many forklifts come with a tarping attachment. Overhead cranes and forklift attachments can obviate the need for anyone to climb onto the load to put a tarp on top of it.

If you must climb onto a load, please consider the following best practices:

  • Park on a level surface
  • If you must use a ladder, ensure you use 3 points of contact and have someone foot the ladder. If feasible, consider installing a permanent ladder on the trucks in your fleet.
  • If possible, park inside first. This will allow you to tarp the load in a controlled atmosphere.
  • Do not stand or walk on the load; crawl. This keeps your body weight low and can reduce the chances of a fall.
  • Refer to OSHA standards for fall protection. Fall protection is required when you reach a certain height. During the tarping process, fall protection is often required.

There are unique situations when truckers and even customers get involved with tarping. When a customer or trucker needs help in the tarping process, make sure you consider the list of bulleted points above. Furthermore, you should ask yourself some questions. Such as, is this individual insured? If they use our equipment and get hurt, who will be liable for any injuries?

A simple exercise like tarping a load can be hazardous. It is best to develop a safe procedure and execute the process on every load. Acadia Insurance’s Loss Control team can help educate you and your employees on how to safely apply and remove tarps from vehicles. Contact your local loss control representative or Virtual Loss Control Team member today for more information.

Acadia Insurance is pleased to share this material with its customers.  Please note, however, that nothing in this document should be construed as legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services.  This material is for general informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.  Distribution of this information does not constitute an assumption by us of your obligations to provide a safe workplace. Maintaining a safe workplace in accordance with all laws is your responsibility. We make no representation or warranty that our activities or recommendations will place you in compliance with law, relieve you of potential liability or ensure your premises or operations are safe. We exercise no control over your premises or operations and have no responsibility or authority to implement loss prevention practices or procedures.

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