Loading/Unloading Equipment: Staying Safe on the Job Site

One of the hazardous parts of working a construction site job is the risk that comes with working on machinery, moving loads, and equipment malfunctions. Of these risks, the risk of loading/unloading problems ranks high for injury potential.

There are several things workers can do to keep themselves and their fellow workers safe, from wearing the proper hi vis workwear to following safety guidelines at all times. Here are some important things to remember during any loading or unloading activity:


Even on level ground, the roll-over risk can be high during loading and unloading. This is because until the load is properly placed the vehicle is off-balance and could tip. It is important that you allow enough room to maneuver freely so you can get into a safe position, which is sometimes difficult on crowded and cramped job sites.


Use a spotter for guidance. Ensure you are focused on what you are doing and have nothing to distract you. Make sure the machine clears the ramps before turning and that you stay intact and maintain proper balance. Keep people away as much as possible and keep people off from the sides of the machine during loading/unloading. For the people who must be in the area, make sure they are weight hi vis work-wear and proper safety equipment.


Check the machine over before you begin and loading or unloading. Be sure to look at the trailer deck, clearances and stability and watch for any signs of mechanical problems before you ever start working. Review your lock-out/tag-out plan to be sure the machine is at "Zero Energy State" when stowed.


Use proper tie-down procedures when needed to add extra stability to your equipment. If you are using compression chain binders, open the handle slowly and with caution to avoid any sudden release or shift that could tip the load and throw the balance off. Use safety tie wires or switch to ratchet binders as much as possible for added safety and stability.