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Loss Control Insights for Contractors

Securing Equipment During Transport

semi tractor trailer

When it comes to safely transporting your equipment, shortcuts that save you a few minutes may cost you a lot in the event of an accident. Laws that regulate cargo securement vary from state to state, but here are some good guidelines to help you keep equipment and supplies where they belong.

Know Your Numbers
The load rating of your trailer should be adequate for the weight and dimensions of equipment you're moving. Trailer ratings can be found on the trailer identification plate, and equipment information can be found in the owner's manual or by running equipment over a certified scale. In most states, loads over 80,000 lbs. require special permits.

Place The Load
When driving up ramps, always keep the heaviest end of the equipment uphill. If transporting in the bed of a truck, place the load as far forward as possible with the heaviest part of the load at the bottom. If on a trailer, aim for the middle of the trailer and evenly distribute your equipment out from there. Lower all work tools and accessories and engage the parking brake.

Plan Your Tie-Downs
In general, your tie-downs must have a combined strength (or aggregate working load limit) of at least 50% of your load. If your tie-downs aren't labeled with their working load limit, you can look it up here. The length of your load and its position may also affect the minimum number of tie-downs.

Chose securement points that are part of the equipment's frame. Avoid sharp areas or pieces that are plastic or rubber. If you're unsure, the equipment's manual may list appropriate securement points. If your equipment has a detachable accessory, it should also be secured to the trailer.

Secure The Load
Start by using blocks and braces to secure your equipment, then tie-downs to supplement the blocking and bracing. Make sure you check your straps and chains before use, looking for cuts or other damage that might compromise their strength.

If using binders to secure your load, avoid using a cheater bar to tighten the chain. You may end up overtightening, which can exceed the working load limit while also weakening the chain and attachments. Don't forget to secure the binder to keep it from opening, and be careful when removing chains and straps as they can be under a lot of pressure.

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