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5 Safety Tips to Remember When Hauling Heavy Equipment

Heavy Equipment

When it’s time for hauling your heavy equipment keep these tips in mind to ensure safety first.

Truck Hauling Excavator Down City Street

Heavy equipment can cost you anywhere between a few thousand dollars to well over $500,000, needless to say, you want this investment safe and sound, at least until it has paid for itself.

But in order for that to be possible, safety procedures and best practices cannot just be limited to the construction site, you need to ensure safety even when on the road, hauling your expensive heavy equipment.

Big Truck Hauling Front End Loader

Described below are the top 5 ways to ensure safety when hauling heavy equipment.

Choose the Right Trailer Type

There is a fair bit of variety when it comes to the types of trailers available. Here is a brief explanation of the trailers most commonly used for hauling heavy machinery:

  • RGN (Removable Gooseneck, Lowboy)

RGN or removable gooseneck trailers are the most common type of trailers for larger loads as their massive load capacities allow even the heaviest and largest of heavy equipment to be loaded. The loading process is also very easy because if your equipment allows it, you can drive it over the trailer bed. Heavy haul loads on RGN are up to 75 tons

  • Step Deck (Drop Deck)

These trailers are similar to flatbeds but are used in place when the load height is more than the maximum legal height of 8’6″. These trailers can carry loads that up to 10’6″ in height without requiring additional permits.

  • Double Drop Trailer

If your heavy machinery is even taller than 10’6″, then you might need a double drop trailer. As the name suggests, these trailers are even lower to the ground and offer a height clearance of 12’. They can easily be identified by their “well of the trailer” which refers to the middle part of the trailer which is lower than both the front and rear part.

  • Flatbed Trucking

The most common type of trailer for the typical load. The ideal load weight for this trailer is 24 tons and can generally accommodate loads that are 48’-53′x8’x8’. Flatbeds can also make loading and unloading easier for your crew.

  • Stretch Trailer

Stretch trailers refer to all of the above trailers Flatbed Trailer, Step Deck, Double Drop, and RGN trailer that has the ability to extend their deck to accommodate loads that are over 53′.

Big Tires on Heavy Equipment

Pay Attention to the Load Capacity

If your heavy equipment weights 30 tons, you might just go out and get a trailer that’s certified for 30 tons, but there is another element that needs to be factored into this decision - the length of the load, Some trailers may be certified for 30 tons over 15 feet while others might be certified that same weight in just 10 feet. Make sure you check what the trailer is rated for before loading on your heavy equipment.

Secure and Inspect the Load

According to a study by AAA, between 2011 and 2014, more than 200,000 accidents were caused by loose cargo or debris falling from the trailer. That is an average of 182 accidents a day or one accident every 8 minutes. In other words, securing the load is not such an easy job and should not be taken lightly.

We suggest a complete pre-trip inspection of the trailer, the truck, and the load. Ensure no debris is on the trailer, the load is secured in place, and everything else on the truck is in order.

Front End Loader Putting Load into Truck

Hire Trained Operators Only

You might be tempted to use workers on your construction site to load the heavy equipment or even drive the truck - but don’t. Even if the value of the heavy machinery isn’t in 5 digits. In fact, driver error (speeding) remains the top cause of heavy-duty trucking accidents. That’s why you only want to hire trained and experienced operators.

Run Routes Before the Final Trip

Before you’re ready to set off on the planned route, make sure you take another vehicle to check the routes beforehand. A recent accident, fallen tree, or construction work could add unnecessary delays or completely stop the haul.

A pilot car may be a good idea or even required if the heavy equipment is very large or valuable.

Big Truck Hauling Exavator

Safety should also be your top priority and these 5 ways will ensure “safety first”, even when you’re off-site.

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