Flatbed falls are flat out avoidable

Between 2003 and 2012 there were 15 fatalities due to falls from trucks. The road freight transport industry has a high incidence of injury, in particular those injuries resulting from muscular stress, handling objects and falls from trucks.

These account for 44 per cent of claims and, with 158,000 workers employed in road and freight across NSW, it pays to be aware of the risks.

Responsibility for safety in this industry often falls to multiple parties with many injuries occurring at worksites that aren’t controlled by the transport operator or driver.

This makes it all the more important to have everyone involved on board with safe practices.

Talking through the risks with the delivery point or the transport operator is a great first step.

Falls from flatbed trucks are usually serious, and sometimes fatal, but there are several ways to stay safe while loading and unloading flatbeds; and these tips apply to small as well as large businesses.

The best way to stay safe is to stay on the ground at a safe distance from the mobile plant during loading and unloading.

You can keep your distance from the trailer by using equipment to help you load, by pre-configuring the load to suit the equipment you’re using or, by pre-slinging the load.

If you have aids such as a lead rope or reach pole, you can also employ load restraints that are accessible from the ground.

If you can’t work from the ground, try putting a guard rail or temporary platform in place, or use a retractable ladder or step with handrails.

Remember to keep both of your feet firmly on the ladder or step.

If you need to move around on the trailer, use travel restraints and if these measures are not practical, consider using a fall arrest system.

Although a flatbed or trailer is only one to two metres off the ground, if you fall awkwardly or hit your head, the consequences are serious.

Watch this video safety alert for clear tips on how to stay safe when working with flatbed trucks and trailers.

Call 13 10 50 to get a copy of your free ‘talk before you load up’ poster.

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