IC Safety from Protective Insurance Company
August 2013 An exclusive publication for Protective's independent contractors
Common cargo-related injuries
As drivers, one of your top priorities is delivering your load to the designated destination on time. Speed shouldn’t take priority over safety, however. Rushing to move cargo in and out of your truck can result in injuries.
Equipment and cargo-related injuries account for 12 percent of all independent contractor injuries and 8 percent of all injury costs. These types of injuries can occur for numerous reasons, including:
• lifting, pushing or pulling the trailer dolly
• smashing your hand between the truck and dolly or trailer
• dolly crank handle striking your face or mouth
• hooking or unhooking airline connections
• striking tongue gear while trailering
• being struck or run over by the truck or trailer
• unexpected movement of the truck, trailer or dolly
• caught when trailering, coupling or uncoupling
• struck by cargo or a package that is improperly secured
• hand and fingers caught in doors
Focusing specifically on moving cargo with a hand truck or pallet jack, there are steps you can take to avoid being injured. Keep your feet clear of the wheels when loading hand trucks. Secure the load with straps if needed to make sure it doesn’t slip, shift or fall on you. Always push a hand truck; only pull if your vision is obstructed or if you are going up stairs.
If you are going up a ramp, your decision on whether to push or pull the hand truck should be based on the weight of the material being moved, slope of the ramp and footing provided by the ramp’s surface. When you are going down an incline, keep the hand truck in front of you to maintain control. Pay close attention to pinch points on folding hand trucks and avoid injuries by keeping your hands away from these areas.
For more tips on using hand trucks safely, download our Proper Use of Material Handling Aids handout.
Free Download: Proper Use of Material Handling Aids handout
Following proper technique when using hand trucks and pallet jacks can help prevent injuries. Read our complete list of tips for safely using and maintaining these tools. Download free handout >>


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