Monday, December 5, 2011

Load Shifting

Always be sure that your load is properly secure so it does not shift. Load Shifting can caust your vehicle or trailer to tip.

More Vehicle Safety

Continuing on Vehicle Safety, keep alert, watch for stopped vehicles, properly secure your load, be aware of overhead hazards and vehicle height, and never run through a closed train crossing gate.

Some pics to think about:

Vehicle Maintenance: continued

When performing vehicle maintenance in-house or on the road in the event of an emergency, be sure that the person doing it has been trained in safety procedures for doing so, is qualified and doing it in the safest manner.

Jacking your vehicle up is no trivial matter when it comes to car safety, so be sure to support it safely with jack stands. You're taking thousands of pounds and dangling it over your body while you tinker underneath.

Vehicles come with either a scissor or a bottle jack, and these are great to have in a emergency to change a flat tire, but for anything beyond roadside service, it is recommended to use jack stands. Jack stands offer more strength than your conventional jack, and more stability, meaning the vehicle is less likely to fall off of them while they are in use.

Never crawl under a vehicle only supported by a jack.

It only takes a second to securely support your vehicle safely while you work on it. A pair of jack stands should be one of the first things you buy when equipping your shop, company, or yourself for vehicle maintenance and repair.

When using jack stands, they must be placed in certain spots. These spots can be found in your vehicle's owner's manual, or more often than not can be pointed out by looking under the vehicle. They most often appear as square cuts in the frame, making it easy to see where they line up the jack stands. All vehicles, especially trucks can be lifted by the frame.

Make sure the jack is fully functional (All wheels free to roll, handle free to turn, and hydraulic pump raises and lowers without leaks) and will support the weight limit on the jack label. To double check this information you will need to consult your vehicle manual to find the weight of your vehicle. Usually this is only a problem when you are using a jack that did not come with your car.

Lift your vehicle with a floor jack, and place the stands under the lift points at both sides, adjusting them for the height you need to do your work. If you do not own a floor jack, you can use the bottle jack or scissor jack that comes with your vehicle. However, if you do this, you must raise one side of the car at a time and place stands individually, rather than lifting the whole vehicle and placing them together.

Lower the weight of the vehicle onto the stand so the vehicle is not supported by the jack. Most people doing home auto repairs don’t know this, but using a jack stand to support the weight of the car is a safer alternative than supporting your vehicle with the jack.

After your vehicle is safely resting on the stands, remove the floor jack so it isn't in your way while you're trying to do repairs. Then go to the bumper of the car closer to where your stands are and shake it. If the car shakes, be sure that your stands are under the correct and closest lift points, and adjust accordingly. It's always better to test and have the vehicle fall on its wheels than to fall on you.

When lifting or working under the vehicle using jack stands, apply the emergency brake and put blocks behind wheels that touch the ground.

Vehicle Maintenance

Sticking with the transportation safety topic, lets look at the vehicle maintenance. There are 2 categories of vehicle maintenance.

  • Preventive Maintenance is conducted to keep equipment working and/or extend the life of the equipment.

  • Corrective Maintenance, sometimes called "repair," is conducted to get equipment working again.

Repairs themselves can be classified in 1 of 6 different types:

  • Necessary Repairs would be made as soon as possible because something important is worn out, broken, damaged, inoperative, loose, failed, about to fail or is creating an unsafe condition.

  • Manufacturer's Warranty Repairs; made to meet the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations or warranty requirements. Example: Your owners manual says the oil and filter has to be changed at least once every 7,500 miles to keep the engine warranty in effect.

  • Should-Be-Replaced Repairs are made for items that are going to fail or wear out with in the next 6 months, are still functioning now, and do not currently create an unsafe condition. Many times, it is cheaper to do these repairs now than when the part fails. Example: Your brakes are low, it is cheaper replace now than when they fail and you need to replace the rotors too.

  • Upgrades: sometimes repairs will be recommended or suggested because they could provide some benefit to you (like more reliable starting, improved fuel economy, better ride or handling, etc.).

  • Preventive Maintenance is conducted to keep equipment working and/or extend the life of the equipment. The manufacturer has a schedule for these repairs.

  • Unnecessary Repairs, repairs that there is no legitimate reason to perform.

Vehicle Maintenance & the Pre-Trip Inspection

Vehicle maintenance is extremely important to ensure that the vehicle is safe to operate and preforms as it is suppose to. Vehicle inspection, repair, and maintenance standards are critical to the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles. They are designed to reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities resulting from unsafe vehicles operating on the highways.

The Pre-Trip Inspection is done prior to beginning a new work day, job, or trip. There are three major reasons why a pre-trip inspection is required. First, it is the law. Secondly, it reduces accidents, injuries, and fatalities and legal liability is reduced. Lastly, expensive roadside repairs can be avoided if a problem is spotted before a driver is on the road. At the end of the final trip of the day you should conduct a post-trip inspection on your vehicle.

Loading Dock Safety

My last post was on seat belts for professional drivers, so I am going to stay on the topic of transportation safety. This post is going to remind you about Loading Dock Safety.

  • Chock wheels or use vehicle restraint systems.

  • Secure dock leveler.

  • Use portable jack stands in addition to the forward landing gear of spotted trailers. Too much weight in the nose can tip a trailer.

  • Ensure forklifts used to load/unload trailers are equipped with spotlights.

  • Ensure forklifts side shifts as standard equipment; they increase productivity & help to prevent product damage.

  • Do not allow pedestrians in trailers while a lift truck is loading/unloading.

  • Perform a visual inspection of the trailer prior to driving a lift truck into it.

  • If you require your employees to install or remove security seals for truckloads and containers you should designate a safe area away from the dock to do this. Never allow an employee to stand between a trailer and the dock.

  • Instruct employees not to climb on docks or to place any part of their bodies outside of the dock door. If employees need to climb down into the dock area make sure proper ladders or stairs are provided.

  • Train all employees that work in dock areas on the hazards, not just lift truck operators.

Remember Trailer Loading Procedure. For Palletized Loads :

  • Ensure trailers have chocks, and portable jack stands for spotted trailers.

  • Plan before you start to load. Stage the load so that you know how much cargo you have, what goes first, what gets stacked, etc.
  • Distribute the weight of the cargo evenly as you load, in the fore-to-aft as well as left-to-right.

  • Keep the center of gravity low; place heavier items lower on the trailer and lighter ones higher if you have to stack.

  • Secure the load, use load locks, ratchet straps, etc.

  • Watch the weight; too heavy and the trailer could split.