Flatbed Tarping Safety for the Commercial or Owner Operator Truck Driver

Dry van trucking isn’t easy. However, the flatbed trucker has an additional responsibility that’s often difficult and dangerous. This, is placing and securing a protective tarp over his load. The work is dangerous because it involves climbing and working at heights, sometimes on uneven or unstable loads.

A hundred pound tarp is an unwieldy thing to handle, especially in a wind that can catch it and toss you to the ground. In the winter, you may work in freezing winds with a frozen stiff tarp. For those who are middle-aged, the awkward work can cause back injuries.

This description should give the beginner a picture of what he may have to do as a commercial or owner operator truck driver who pulls a flatbed trailer. Here are six tips to make your job safer:

  • Take your time. If tarping is new to you, then you don’t have the routine worked out to do the job quickly. Take your time and do the job properly and safely.
  • Get help. Tarping is best done as a team effort. If there are experienced people nearby, ask for their help.
  • If a tarping machine is available, use it. A tarping machine can do in 15 minutes what requires over 2 hours of manual work. It saves time, money, and doesn’t expose you to risk. Keep the wind out by closing the door when using an indoor tarping machine.
  • Don’t try to use a frozen tarp. Tarping is difficult enough in warm weather, let alone working with a frozen stiff tarp in the cold. Thaw it out in a heated area first.
  • Avoid tarping in the wind. Do it indoors if a facility is available. You can also park in an area protected from the wind such as the side of a building or near a van trailer.
  • Avoid climbing when possible. Don’t climb on your load if you don’t have to. For example, you can place straps over a loaded flatbed by tossing them over. You can do this using a weight attached to one end. If you’re familiar with the ancient sling that was used to hurl rocks, you can apply the same principle by using a length of the strapping attached to a weight. You can also use the rolled strapping as the weight. Toss the strap with the wind if possible. You may have to reposition your rig for this.

In addition to minimizing physical risk, eliminate financial risk with North Carolina commercial or owner operator truck insurance. For information about this and answers to your questions, contact us at J.E.B. Insurance Services.