Safety. We talk about safety all the time. Usually, we’re speaking about road safety. Trucking has other risks as part of the job. Well, they shouldn’t be part of the job but sometimes we find ourselves is bad situations that put personal safety at risk.
Most places we go to are safe. They’re legit companies with safety policies and standards. We must always follow shipper/receivers safety policies. But sometimes a shipper or receiver may be a smaller operation that doesn’t have those policies – or concerns quite frankly.
You can usually size up a place when you pull in. If it looks run down or you see unsafe conduct then be very cautious. You can’t control what others do, but you can control what you do.
If you’re asked or directed to do something that you’re not comfortable with – refuse. Be polite but make it clear you have safety concerns. Call your dispatcher to make them aware of the situation. It doesn’t happen often but we know drivers are sometimes asked to do something risky while helping load or unload. Our safety policy is – drivers should not be putting themselves at personal risk to move freight.
Some clients want delivery to a job site, such as cabinets or building materials. Job sites, by their very nature, are a higher risk area. There are many people there doing their own thing and the sites aren’t set up to unload big trucks.
Stay in areas that can clearly accommodate a big truck. Get out and check the site before you enter and make sure someone in charge of the site knows you’re there. Also, wear your safety vest so people can see you and wear your hard hat and goggles if you feel the need. Again, with jobs sites don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with doing. Your safety is your responsibility and you’re in the best position to know.
Always call ahead and ask questions. You want to know if trucks can get to the site and the best way to get in and out of it. Make sure they are ready for delivery and have a plan to unload the truck.
Sometimes we’re driving into or through the bad end of town. Always stay calm. Keep your cell phone handy so you can call 911. If you’re driving through a neighborhood you don’t want to be in make sure your doors are locked and don’t open your window for anyone.
If you’re sleeping overnight at a shipper/receiver in a bad neighborhood then find another place to stay. You can usually ask them when you call ahead if you can sleep overnight.
Personal safety is your responsibility. Sometimes you’re asked to do something that you’re not comfortable with; other times you’re just placed in a less than ideal situation. Either way, make the safest choice possible. Our main goal is to make sure all of our drivers make it back home safe. No load is worth jeopardizing personal safety. When there is a situation, and there will be situations, call dispatch to make them aware of the problem. Safety is a team effort.