Hauling heavy construction equipment between job sites is a common task. Yet, when this equipment is not properly secured, serious accidents can occur during transportation, potentially resulting in destroyed equipment, damaged vehicles, traffic fines and injuries (or even fatalities) among employees or other motorists on the road. Considering these consequences, it’s critical to prioritize effective load securement practices. In doing so, equipment can remain in place throughout each journey, mitigating potential losses. Here are some load securement tips for construction employers to consider as they haul heavy construction equipment:
- Conduct employee training. Employees should receive adequate training regarding equipment transportation guidelines and load securement practices. This training may differ based on the types of vehicles used for hauling equipment and the specific items being transported. In any case, employees who lack the necessary training, experience or qualifications should never be permitted to engage in equipment transportation or load securement activities.
- Plan accordingly. Establishing an effective equipment transportation and load securement plan before each trip is essential. This plan should verify that the vehicle being used is capable of hauling heavy equipment. It’s critical that the load being transported does not exceed the vehicle’s gross weight rating or gross combination weight rating. If the load is oversized or overweight, the plan should address whether additional operational permits are required. In addition, the plan should highlight how the load will be arranged in the vehicle to ensure even weight distribution, enhance friction and minimize movement.
- Utilize adequate securement devices. A number of securement devices are necessary to help keep heavy equipment in place during transportation. These devices work together to form sufficient tie-downs and anchor points within a vehicle, thus helping stabilize and restrain the load as much as possible. Such devices may include webbing, straps, braces, blocks, chains, ropes, binders, shackles, clamps, latches, hooks and friction mats. The types of securement devices needed will vary based on the equipment being hauled. As such, it’s best to carefully assess the load at hand to determine suitable securement devices.
- Perform inspections. Before and after transporting heavy equipment, vehicles and securement devices should be thoroughly inspected for potential damages or maintenance needs. In particular, vehicles should be assessed for tire problems, braking issues or steering concerns, whereas securement devices should be evaluated for missing components or weakened parts. Any problems should be remedied immediately, especially before continued use. Vehicles and securement devices should also be regularly cleaned to limit the risk of excess dirt or debris causing load securement issues.
- Ensure compliance. Above all, it’s vital to consult Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations and state-specific Department of Transportation requirements to determine proper equipment transportation and load securement practices.