Legally and securely transporting heavy construction equipment and cargo is not an easy ordeal. In handling heavy pieces of machinery, you should implement an unloading, transportation, and loading procedure. Below is a simple guide that heavy haul companies should follow to transport construction equipment to and from the worksite.
What You Should Do Beforehand
Make the necessary preparations. Nearly half of all injuries occur during unloading and loading a heavy piece of equipment; hence, you should set safety measures. That helps prevent construction accidents and reduce liabilities.
Do a Risk Assessment
If it comes to heavy equipment liability, construction companies are liable for setting safety measures. Your risk assessments are prerequisite compliance measures that allow you to prove how thorough and detailed your fleet management procedures are.
Make it a habit to add equipment transportation preparation protocol to your business operations. Your supervisor or senior manager can do that, handling the transportation and operation timelines and their weight loads. Likewise, they can also manage potential risks and what the company has done to address them.
Inspecting the Vehicles
You should also check your vehicles and drivers when preparing for heavy machinery transport. You’ll need to include checking the following items:
- Weight: Make sure to assess if the working load limits reach at least half the weight of your load.
- Tie-Down Points: You should also check your load’s required spacing, securement condition, and point number. Other states will have minimum tie-down points for weights that exceed 10,000 lbs. Each should have its chains, boomer, and binder connected to trailer hitch points. Each boomer and binder are responsible for putting weight on the chain connection. Inspect them beforehand.
- Brakes: Your huge weight will affect your vehicle’s brakes. Make sure all brake components and functions are in excellent condition.
- Lights: Your truck’s brake and front lights should always be in excellent condition.
- Tires: Don’t forget to check the truck tire pressure. Heavy loads can also affect tire air pressure, quickly deflating those that are already compromised.
Despite the standard four tie-down points in other states, other pieces of equipment will require even more. Furthermore, machinery with appendages or attachments should have those components separately secured and removed. That means you now have a five tie-down point. One typical example of this case is when transporting excavators.
Use Protective Gear
Workplace safety is essential for your business. Making sure your employees use a set of personal protective equipment is a standard across all companies. Doing that doesn’t only help in preparing machinery for legal and safe transport; it avoids unnecessary lawsuits that a hard hat will have saved.
Using protective gear is something that most companies overlook, with many cutting corners on chaining up a trailer and moving on to the next task. PPE documentation is another strategy that reduces risks. Furthermore, you’ll get a better permit application and risk assessment if you state the safety measures you and your workers follow for routine heavy equipment hauling.
Loading Machinery Safely
Your truck’s weight is only as durable as its weakest link. Those weak links often result from preparing the equipment incorrectly. Loading a heavy piece of machinery doesn’t just focus on a driver transporting it, connecting the chains, and bringing the equipment on the ramp.
Try to Divide the Tasks
Before loading machinery, your team should already have a clear picture of who’s supervising them. You’ll have to find someone to bring the equipment onto the deck and need another person to direct the driver from the ramp onto the trailer bed. That person will also be responsible for delivering hand signals to the driver.
In addition, you should also notify your other workers if you’re loading machinery on the docket. Make sure to limit drifting vehicles or personnel so as not to disturb the loading operations because it can be dangerous once they’ve started.
Clear the Loading Dock
Look for a level, uninhabited ground for the ramp before loading machinery. During a busy day or peak hours on the site, most supervisors ignore such measures.
You should also check if the loading area is strong enough to support the total weight of your loaded truck. During seasons with thaw or rain, the combined weight of your vehicle and your load will cause the entire thing to sink.
Tying Your Equipment
Don’t forget to learn about state laws that govern how you should secure heavy pieces of equipment during transport. While the four or five tie-down points are a standard, each state has its additional regulations and restrictions to follow. With the item safely secured on deck, you can start tying it down.
Transporting heavy pieces of equipment can be a complex, tedious procedure at times. You can refer to the tips on this guide to get a clearer picture of what you need to do to load, secure, and transport heavy machinery.