Trailer safety at construction site

Trailer and truck safety
Trailer safety picture


Trailer safety

Trucks and trailers are considered to be the most versatile vehicles used in the Construction industry for transporting a wide range of materials. Since they have become so common over the years, they have also far too often become the source of serious injuries and even fatalities in the construction industry.

Incidents have occurred during loading, and unloading operations as well as while reversing and or traveling. Some of the causes of some of these incidents have been workers falling from trailers, overturning of trucks or trailers, brake failures, and failure to properly secure loads. According to Global incident statistics the percentage of falls from trucks and trailers occurred as follows: 60% from the trailer, 8% from the tailgate and 7 % from the roof, and 25% from the cab.

The three most common activities associated with truck and trailer incidents are: Loading and unloading (49%), loads improperly secured (21%), cleaning or maintenance tasks (15%), and forward or reverse traveling (15%). Recently at one of our Construction sites, an incident occurred when one of the riggers fell from a trailer bed while loading fabricated ladders. The injured person was moving along the trailer bed when he stumbled on some unused dunnage material, causing him to fall from the trailer and fracturing his right forearm.

Basic Principles

  • Load trucks and trailers in a manner that does not endanger people loading or people that will be unloading the material.
  • Equipment and material loads on trucks and trailers must be properly secured so that they will not shift or fall off during transportation or unloading.
  • Loads such as gravel, stone, soil, etc. must be contained or secured to prevent leakage, spilling, blow off, fall, etc.

Safety precautions to be taken while loading and unloading materials:

Safe methods of loading and unloading must be communicated to the crews, including the nature of the load and how it should be properly loaded, secured, and unloaded.


The loading and unloading areas must be:

  • Clear of traffic and people are not involved in the activity
  • On level ground
  • Segregated from other work areas where possible
  • Clear of overhead power cables, pipes, or other obstructions

Trailer safety

Protected from adverse weather conditions where possible

Additional safety precautions are:

  • Make sure vehicles and trailers have parking brakes applied and all stabilizers are in the correct position before loading or unloading.
  • Equipment operators, drivers, and ground employees working in the area must be trained.
  • Ensure that loose materials such as dunnage, load securing equipment, etc. are removed from the truck or trailer bed during loading/unloading operations.
  • Ensure that vehicle restraints (wheel chocks) are used to secure trailers while loading or unloading.

Apart from the precautions to be taken during loading and unloading, ensure that safety devices such as headboards, stanchions, appropriate anchor points, tie-down straps, and access ladders are used.



Headboards of trailer
Trailer headboards for safety

Headboards must be strong enough to prevent loads from penetrating the cab of the vehicle if the securing devices fail. The top of the load must not be stacked above the headboard.


Stanchions for material protection

Stanchions are used to provide lateral restraint of the loads and they must be extended to the height of the loads. Stanchions used must be used “strong” enough to resist any outward movement of the loads. There should be a sufficient number of stanchions installed on the vehicle to restrain the loads.


Load Securing Equipment:

Load Securing Equipment
Load Securing Equipment

Load Securing Equipment: Depending on the type of loads, different securing equipment such as chains, ropes, webs, strappings, etc. should be used.

Ladder access:

Trailer Ladder access
Ladder access

Ladder access must be provided and should be clamped onto the trailer to prevent the ladder from slipping or moving during use. Never allow people to jump down from trucks or trailers or climb onto trucks and trailers without using a ladder.

Be aware of the hazards and risks while loading and unloading materials from trucks and trailers. Ensure adequate safety measures before and during job execution are fulfilled. Your awareness, constant vigilance, timely and prompt actions could eliminate major incidents.

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