8 min. read

April 27 2023

Loading and unloading a trailer can be dangerous, and you should always consider the best way to carry out this operation safely. Heavy loads, if not controlled properly, can cause injury or even death. In this article, we address the potential hazards present during loading and unloading operations and see how we can overcome them.

What are the hazardous factors that can cause accidents?

The following are the most common factors for accidents:

Load handling: is generally a dangerous operation (especially if the load is heavy) because it can involve the risk of crushing.

Slippery surfaces: a risk often underestimated and minimized, is instead a very serious danger, especially if the trailer floor is wet or frozen.

Adverse weather and environmental conditions: poor lighting, frost and wetness can compromise work and become a serious danger.

Electrical components and cables inadequately fixed and protected: loose or damaged ties and loose cables could create tripping hazards while working.

Inadequate packaging of goods could cause damage not only to the product to be transported but also to workers.

Poorly securing the goods or stacking the units incorrectly makes the entire load unstable, risking collapse during vehicle transit or when workers perform the unloading operation.

Failure of the electric truck/pallet truck being used.

If the truck/trailer is not safely secured at the dock, it may move away, increasing the risk of falls between the wall of the facility and the truck, together with the truck and the load.

In addition to these, there are others, perhaps less obvious, but not less dangerous.

Poor communication between workers can create sources of danger.

Poor teamwork and coordination, as well as slowing down work, can be the cause of many accidents.

Not receiving guidance from your supervisor or not having a procedure to follow is a very serious problem that is too often ignored and can be a source of risk.

Lack of experience: not being familiar with the workflow and handling tools, or using incorrect equipment for the operation being performed.

Distractions while working.

How to load a trailer: What we can do to eliminate or at least reduce hazards

The approach you use to carry out the work will make the difference.
A careful analysis is the best way to start.

1. Plan before you start
Establish in advance how you will load the trailer, what tools you will use, in what order you will load the goods, and how you will secure them. Improvisation is not a good plan.
2. Distribute the load correctly

Evenly distributing the load is essential to ensure safe transport. If the load is concentrated on only one side of the trailer, the driving will become unstable, increasing the risk of accidents. Similarly, do not overload the vehicle's axles to avoid putting them under excessive stress. 

Do not exceed the maximum weight allowed for trailer transport.

Finally, make sure to keep the center of gravity low. Position the heaviest objects on the vehicle floor and the lighter ones on top of them. In the event of swerving, a low center of gravity will prevent the vehicle from overturning.

3. Secure the load correctly

Use straps, chains, and tensioning devices. For open flatbed trailers, tarps are often used that not only secure the load but also protect it from the weather.
Note that thick chains are very strong but can also damage certain types of loads, while straps and ropes, while easier to transport, are not as strong as chains.

Carico e scarico in sicurezza - muletto carica merce

Some tips

Avoid loading or unloading on a slope. During goods handling operations, the trailer should always be on a flat surface, as the load could slip or tip over.

Make sure you have enough space. For all loading and unloading operations, it is necessary to have sufficient space to carry out maneuvers, especially if operational vehicles such as forklifts or AGVs are used.

Lock the vehicle. It may seem trivial, but make sure to lock the trailer wheels and engage the brakes of the tractor. Note that if the tractor is not present during loading and unloading operations, you will need to support the front of the trailer.

Use our solutions to increase safety

You can perform loading and unloading operations safely by choosing to use one of our solutions.
Our set-ups are designed not only to increase the efficiency of your company but also to make it safer.

Rulliera motorizzata - Rollerkit
Rollerkit System

A pneumatic lift roller conveyor system installed in the trailer floor. This is the best setup possible for trailers intended for the transport and handling of standard wooden pallets or special supports. It is also the most efficient solution for shuttle operations and handling of goods.

It offers maximum performance when combined with an automatic loading and unloading system for the automation of the end-of-line of a production plant (only 90 seconds to fully load the trailer).

Loading is done automatically and safely, while the operator can operate the motorized rollers from a safe distance. Chains and rollers perform automatic pallet handling. Thanks to the rollerkit system , it is also easier to distribute the goods evenly. After the handling operation is completed, the rollers and chains disappear into the trailer floor, ensuring stability to the load. As an additional safety measure, stop pallets completely lock the goods on the floor, avoiding possible movements while the vehicle is in transit. Finally, in case the lifted rollers are forgotten, a safety system will lower them as soon as the brake pedal is pressed.

Rollertrack Systems

Installed in the trailer floor, this setup allows the transport and handling of air pallets and ULD containers used in airport logistics.

Also available in a removable version, the rollertrack setup transforms the vehicle into a perfect handling system suitable for logistic transport in airport warehouses.

However, if it is necessary to transport other types of goods, the setup is guaranteed to be forklift or pallet truck compatible.

For handling heavier loads, powered rollers can be installed to automate loading and unloading operations.

With pneumatic lift rollers, managing goods becomes very simple and, above all, safe. Like the rollerkit system, the operator commands the rollers from a safe distance outside the load transit area, the rollers lower while the vehicle is in motion, and stop pallets completely lock the load, preventing accidental movements.

Do you need advice?

Contact us and we will help you find the best solution for your needs.