Safe flatbed cargo securement prevents accidents or bad scenarios from happening on the road. A ‘bad scenario’ could be lost cargo, collisions, or even bodily injury. It’s no secret that there have been many catastrophic failures – some leading to death – when it comes to securing loads.
Securing Cargo Loads to Your Trailer
While Flatbeds are incredibly versatile in carrying specialty and odd-shaped freight, they can also be a bit challenging when securing loads. Unlike other trucks, flatbeds lack sides or tops that would help with securing a load in position. This means flatbed drivers have to secure freight with the proper training and tools. At System Transport, we train all flatbed drivers on how to secure a variety of flatbed loads safely because it is a fine art to ensure cargo stays on the flatbed while a driver transports it. Driver safety is paramount to us!
Unsecured cargo is a much greater risk when it’s on a flatbed. There is nowhere for cargo to go on a flatbed truck except off and onto the road if it is poorly secured. Whether the result is lost cargo or injured motorists, it’s undesirable for all drivers.
In order to secure freight on a flatbed trailer, System Transport drivers need several tools:
- Webbing Straps
- Load Binders
Selecting the right tool for the freight you are hauling is crucial. For example, webbing straps can work for many items, but you’ll want to use chains for heavier objects. Furthermore, if you use chains to tie down cargo, always use load binders to tighten them. Doing it by hand simply isn’t enough to keep the load secure. At System Transport, our drivers use load binders and winches to tighten and secure loads safely.
Most freight that System Transport drivers haul requires a tarp – which of course is provided by us. Tarps are not meant to be used as a means to secure loads. It is merely a protective containment. Tarps can protect some types of cargo from being scattered by high winds as you travel along at high speeds. During winter months, the tarp can also serve to protect your cargo when inclement weather may arise suddenly during your route.
Avoid Shifting Cargo
If you’ve secured your cargo correctly, chances are you won’t have much to worry about. However, System Transport drivers always conduct regular load checks while on the road because the movement of the road can cause anything that is on the flatbed trailer to shift.
While this movement could cause damage to some cargo, the risk is how it can impede your driving. The sliding force of moving cargo could make a turn dangerous (you could tip over!).
Proper Weight Loading
Weight distribution is a key aspect of transporting cargo on flatbed trucks. Weigh stations look at the weight load of each axle along with total weight. If the weight load is skewed, then it could be caused by improper loading. Poor loading of your flatbed truck increases wear and tear, leading to high maintenance costs.
Safely Prepare for Loading and Unloading
Since flatbed trailers have no sides or tops, there is more ease in loading and unloading cargo. However, the absence of sides can work as a disadvantage as well. Safety at all times is important! Preparing the flatbed truck for loading and unloading can be inherently dangerous and there’s a high chance drivers can fall and injure themselves. The best way to prevent this is to use a secure ladder, and adhere to your System Transport training at all times.
5 Steps to Remember for Flatbed Drivers When Safely Securing Loads
- Double-check your specs and evenly distribute cargo on the flatbed trailer.
- Select the correct tiedown equipment, plan out cargo placement and secure the load.
- Take the necessary precautions when working on or around the flatbed trailer.
- Grab tarps if needed and properly secure them.
- Follow all System Transport training guidelines.
Are you currently working for a carrier that doesn’t recognize and reward your accomplishments? Are you frustrated with your current pay package and lack of career opportunities where you are right now? Join System Transport! We value our drivers and appreciate the essential work you do. If you’re a flatbed truck driver in the western region or west coast with a CDL Class A License, apply for a System Transport truck driving job today! We can’t wait to hear from you. APPLY NOW >