Tag Archive for: osha

OSHA Standards for Truck Drivers

While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) jointly govern and regulate the trucking industry on highways and public roads, another significant portion of the trucking industry operates on workplace property. This might include construction sites, seaports and airports, warehouses, and other workplaces that involve the loading, unloading, and movement of items for business purposes.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which regulates and enforces workplace safety and health rules and regulations, oversees a majority of truckling-related activity occurring on workplace property. Because this part of the trucking industry doesn’t take place on public roadways, it isn’t necessarily regulated by the FMCA or DOT.

OSHA Standards Apply to Non-Driving Operations

OSHA won’t oversee activities taking place on public roadways. But it does oversee construction site heavy truck operations as well as truck loading and unloading on an employer’s premises. That’s enough to ensure worker safety and health in quite a few dangerous situations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction work and warehouses are considered some of the most hazardous workplace environments regarding worker injury rates and deaths. In many industries, truck drivers will spend a significant amount of time on a job site dropping off or collecting loads. Some even work exclusively on an employer’s premises, such as drivers on a large property or heavy machinery operators.

OSHA Regulations That Apply to the Trucking Industry

Some of the most common activities OSHA regulates for truck drivers include the following:

  • Ensuring every workplace is hygienic and safe
  • Ensuring workers follow all safety guidelines when loading and unloading trucks
  • Determining what kinds of straps, cords, and ropes can be used to secure cargo
  • Regulating how hazardous materials are labeled or marked
  • Establishing procedures for the handling of hazardous materials
  • Dictating what types of facilities and which workers can handle toxic materials
  • Determining how lumber and grains are transported
  • Inspecting first aid and fire safety provisions present on a job site

OSHA also protects “whistleblowers,” or workers who report unsafe working conditions. The agency provides various methods for reporting workplace hazards and work-related accidents. The organization also maintains a register of employer citations and ensures all eligible organizations that employ workers follow established guidelines for keeping workers safe.

If there is an OSHA violation involving a truck driver on an employer’s premises, it can involve any number of regulations. Some of the most common ones include:

Truck Operating Procedures

OSHA created a publication listing “Safety Practices Once Tractor Trailer Drivers Arrive at a Destination.” When parking, drivers are instructed to:

  • Park close to the receiving door and on level ground
  • Set and test brakes
  • Place wheel chocks between the trailer’s tandem wheels

When backing up, truck drivers are advised to:

  • Get Out and Look (GOAL)
  • Use backup alarms, horns, and flashers
  • Check all mirrors
  • Roll down windows to hear
  • Use a spotter
  • Know the vehicle’s blind spots
  • Proceed slowly

When uncoupling and coupling, truck drivers are instructed to:

  • Have sufficient training for the procedures
  • Wear visible bright clothing
  • Ensure stable footing for connections and adjustments
  • Perform a tug test before proceeding
  • Check for other vehicle traffic in the area

Sharing Handling Information

OSHA has created specific guidelines for the handling, loading, unloading, and securing of non-hazardous, hazardous, or toxic materials. A trucking company must provide this information to workers and train them on safe workplace practices. Unfortunately, many companies that deal with the movement of materials on a job site don’t take the proper safety precautions or fail to train their workers properly.

Respiratory Protection

Warehouses, construction businesses, and trucking companies must provide workers with respirators and masks if they will be handling hazardous or toxic materials. Further, workers should be trained in how to wear these items correctly and respond to workplace emergencies.

OSHA Provides Protection for Workers in the Trucking Industry

Where FMCSA and DOT regulations end, OSHA regulations begin in protecting the safety and health of trucking industry workers and anyone on a job site working near large trucks. OSHA guidelines were established to make trucking safer, whether or not the vehicle is moving down the highway.

Dangerous and deadly accidents can happen while loading, unloading, moving, or securing materials at the workplace. Unfortunately, some employers fail to adhere to OSHA regulations, resulting in serious accidents, injuries, and even death.

If heavy items aren’t properly secured, they can destabilize a vehicle or become loose and fall off a trailer. Items being transported can catch fire, explode, or cause other injuries.

Have You Been Injured Working in the Trucking Industry?

If you or a loved one have been hurt while working as a truck driver on an employer’s premises, it is possible that OSHA regulations were not being followed. Most U.S. employers are subject to OSHA’s standards and ignoring them can lead to disastrous results for workers and their loved ones. If you’d like to learn more about OSHA’s safety guidelines for truck drivers and your rights after an accident, OSHA Injury Attorney can help.