Prevention though is more than just to know the right way to perform a task; it is also about making safe practice a part of everyday operations. Drivers and other non-dock personnel should be kept clear of the loading/unloading area. Make sure forklifts observe safe driving speeds. Ensure that all crane operators, forklift drivers, and other personnel are observant to their work area. Establish procedures to assure workers are clear of trailers/wheels before moving.
Make sure that once a load is on the trailer that it is properly secured in place. That doors are closed and locked are secured.
Remember, every company should have set standards and procedures in place. But more importantly everyone (administration, drivers, dock workers, etc.) should be well aware of the company’s policies.
For more information an in-depth look at the Federal guidelines OSHA has a wealth of information.
Protect the freight from freezing
Typically the cold weather season runs from Early November to about mid-April. During this time temperature can drop quickly. A driver who is used to working in Florida might not be familiar with the weather patterns in Minnesota. So, besides the obvious of always checking weather forecast, one must be prepared for the very real fact that the weather report could be wrong.
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So, make sure you procedures are up to date, and your staffs are prepared.
Determining if you freight is prone to freezing, and thus getting damaged, is essential. They say “if it jiggles while it’s in motion, it’s less likely to freeze.” This old rule generally applies to things like paints, some chemicals, and gels. However there are many items that are susceptible to freezing such as food, beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and even some agricultural items.
Whenever possible refrain from having merchandise that needs to sit in the trailer or the dock over weekends. But if that is the case, use warm rooms to store freight if the temperature drops. Also it would be best to have warming blankets available ensuring the freight is properly warm while in transit or on the dock.
- The Bill of Lading should clearly state if the material has a risk of freezing, such as; “Protect from freezing, below 32 degrees F.”
- Freight loaded directly on the trailer floor is more susceptible to freezing. Place the materials on a pallet or top load.
- If weather looks like it might be a factor, arrange flexible delivery dates.
Pay for the cargo insurance
Just like with everything, there are numerous insurance carriers and policies available. You must research what is best for your individual organization. But once you make a contract with a customer it is your responsibility to ensure safe delivery, or replacement if something happens.
That is why insurance is so important; it provides the needed protection against the risks of actual loss or destruction of freight while under your organization’s control.
Your decision must not be based on the lowest cost alone. Though cost is an important factor, and should not be overlooked. Remember to check what is actually covered, the deductibles, the range of coverage (it is local or a nationwide service). Are there particular materials not covered (such as chemicals, flammable, explosives, toxins, etc.).
As stated, there are numerous options, but here are some of the standard sample policy types. Though individual companies may offer other services, additional services, and/or a combination of similar services:
- Primary Liability It covers damage or injuries to other (non-fleet/company related) vehicles due to a truck accident. Usually this is mandated by state and federal agencies, requiring proof of coverage.
- Physical Damage covers the truck and trailer, is for the repair and/or replacement of damages from incidents such as collision, theft, fire, flood, hail, windstorm, earthquake, mischief, or vandalism to company fleet vehicles.
- Motor Truck Cargo protects the carrier (company) for lost freight or damaged goods.
- Trailer Interchange is for the legal liability of truckers in case of loss or damage to non-fleet trailers and equipment, in accordance with a written trailer interchange agreement.
- Non-Trucking Liability (NLT) provides limited liability insurance for owner-operators who are permanently contracted with ICC regulated carriers. They are providing limited liability protection while the owner-operator is not actually on dispatch, or pulling a loaded trailer.
- Short term truck insurance is used for moving newly purchased trucks or for repairs, some companies will offer policies for 24 to 72 hour durations.
Trucking is one of those industries that it is essential in keeping America running.
This is only a short rundown of the vast amounts of information that seasoned drivers and old timers alike need to understand. But as you can see, there is so much more to it than just a driver and a truck. So many different pieces come together forming a network of opportunities.
Each piece is essential. Like everything, there is much to be aware of. But with proper planning, preparation and understanding, this is one of the greatest industries.
Be proud to be a part of the trucking world!