When hauling on flatbeds during the winter months, it is important to protect loads from snow, rain, and ice. Tarps are usually the best option for protecting loads on flatbed trailers. When using tarps, it is always recommended that you follow these industry best practices.
Proper Protective Equipment (PPE): PPE should always be worn when handling cargo. At a minimum, drivers should wear gloves that fit well and allow for good dexterity. Drivers should wear high visibility vests, anytime they are performing work near a roadway or on a dock. Drivers should always wear closed-toe shoes with good traction and proper ankle support. Drivers should wear safety glasses.
Climbing onto the Flatbed: When possible have the tarp placed on the flatbed using a forklift, to avoid potential falls and back injuries. Drivers should always check for solid footing, prior to working on the flatbed. Drivers should adhere to the three-point contact rule. This means that a driver always maintains three points of contact, i.e. two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot when working on the flatbed. Also, look for open and uneven sections before moving around on the flatbed.
Unfolding the tarp: The tarp should always be placed on the back of the load. Never walk backward. Never bend at the waist to secure the tarp; instead, kneel down alongside the load. This will prevent you from becoming off-balanced and potentially falling from the flatbed.
Fastening the tarp: Safety glasses should always be worn during this part of the loading process. Always pull straps and bungees away from your body and face. Keep fingers away from pinch points and anchor points. Always turn hooks so they face down and away from the tarp. Downward-facing hooks will prevent tears in the tarp.
When removing the tarp: Safety glasses should always be worn during this phase. Grab a corner and pull up to allow air to flow underneath the tarp. Use steady pressure and pull hand-over-hand towards you. Try to keep the tarp flat and neat to make it easier to fold. Always fold the tarp on level ground, and preferably in a safe area, away from moving vehicles. Once again, try to use a forklift to place the tarp back on the flatbed.