The Department of Transportation has guidelines and rules for securing cargo on flatbeds that are generally minimums. Most operators and companies go above and beyond these minimums to achieve a higher level of confidence when securing a load. This is time consuming and often times difficult work. The tools used to secure flatbed loads are a crucial link in the end result of the shipping process. Damaged chains, frayed straps, bent hooks or improperly secured tie downs are all likely to be culprits in the event of a safety failure or cargo claim scenario. Maintaining these tools is important due to the cost and improper use leads to damage much quicker than consistent proper use. Tarping a load can, at times, be a challenge even to the most experienced operator due to the variety of shapes and sizes of cargo. While some jobs are a simple “box” shape, others are not as simple and require proper planning and proper use of a variety of securement devices. Improper use of any of these may result in damage or loss of freight or even, serious safety issues.
Proper training is first and foremost to ensure safety in this area, and all successful companies have training programs and guidelines to ensure safe operation. This training may be done “in house” or by an outside organization or consultant. Availability of proper tools. Successful companies understand the value of safe tools such as chains, straps and other devices designed to secure cargo and as a result they generally have these tools available. The market today has an incredible variety of securing devices, though most operators prefer the “old school” tools like chains and straps. How the chains and straps are secured to the trailer also leads to a huge variety of methods and tools and every company and driver has their preference. All successful flatbed loads require time to properly secure. Drivers and loaders who are provided with adequate time are, without a doubt, more successful at protecting cargo, equipment and life & limb. Some loads are as simple as properly locating where to place the cargo and then securing it while other loads require multiple devices to achieve the same result. Of course, if a tarp is required, this becomes an entire extra block of time. Without the proper time allotted and used to achieve success, the odds of being successful drop quickly.
With GPS location, time and date tagged on every photo, you can now prove exactly how you did your job as well as where and when. This gives a great advantage over a picture in a phone that might get lost, damaged or stolen. With all of the different techniques and tools available to flatbed operators and loaders, Fleet Watchdog gives trainers, dispatchers and safety personnel an incredibly powerful tool to provide feedback to drivers. By reviewing photos submitted, it is possible to see exactly what’s happening with the cargo that provides the revenue for your company and review techniques and methods with your drivers. Knowing exactly how cargo is loaded and secured can give you the peace of mind that goes with a job well done and allows you to rest easy knowing your cargo is safe. By retaining data for at least six months, Fleet Watchdog gives you ample time to handle whatever may arise after delivery. If the data is needed, it’s just a click away from sending precise information to insurance claims adjusters, shippers, receivers or whoever may have an interest in the cargo. It’s up to you!