When driving a truck in the UK, it is important to use your own judgment when it comes to safety. Many truck drivers rely on their company for safety information, but you should never assume that they know best. The same goes for people you meet at delivery sites – don’t always take their word for it when it comes to safety. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it! Your safety is the most important thing.
Why Is Safety so Important for Truck Drivers?
A truck driver will encounter many hazards during their working day, from other road users to the weather. It is therefore important to be aware of these dangers and take steps to avoid them. One mistake can have serious consequences, so it is vital that truck drivers use their own judgment when it comes to safety.
How Can I Stay Safe When Truck Driving?
There are a number of things you can do to stay safe when truck driving. First and foremost, always be aware of your surroundings and plan your journey in advance. If you can, avoid driving at night or in bad weather. And if you ever have any doubts about a situation, don’t hesitate to call your company or the police for advice.
Your company gives you guidelines about safety but that is exactly what they are simply guidelines! in reality, a truck driver encounters many different dangerous scenarios most of which are not in any guide books, many drivers will sometimes take risks just to get the job done faster but this can lead to serious injury or worse if things go wrong.
It is important to evaluate every situation on its own merits and establish if what you are about to do is safe. This can be a difficult decision to make but if something doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t. It is better to take a few extra minutes to assess the situation than to rush into something and risk injury or, even worse, death.
Wearing high visibility safety clothing will ensure that others see you but the clothing itself is not a suit of armor and cannot protect you from everything.
There are many safety products available to truck drivers, from safety harnesses, hard hats, and gloves, to chemical suits, and breathing apparatus, different jobs can demand different safety equipment and it is important to familiarize yourself with these items should you ever need to use them.
When on site making a delivery work out where potential hazards are and avoid them, if a situation looks too dangerous refuse to continue until the area or the method of unloading has been rectified.
Don’t let people you don’t know tell you that the driver who delivered here last time had no problems, because, in reality, you will probably find that they did!
Be aware that mistakes can happen
I once made a mistake when I was younger working with milk tankers, a driver who was transhipping a load of milk from a bulker onto a reload trailer decided to go and make a cuppa whilst his vehicle was unloading!
We all know that the driver should have remained with his vehicle whilst unloading but he went anyway.
I happened to be in the yard at the time and unfortunately, the reload trailer he was transhipping into was a split tank and not a straight-through tank with baffles.
The bulker was loaded with 15,000 litres of milk, but the capacity of the split tank was only 13,500ltrs, when capacity was reached the milk went up into the air like a whale blowing water out of its blowhole.
My mistake was I panicked, I ran to turn the milk off from the bulker and as you can imagine there was now milk everywhere! I slipped on the milk and seriously hurt my back, in fact, I was scooped up onto a stretcher by an ambulance driver, had multiple scans, and ended up with a disc lodged into my spinal cord.
That was 24 years ago and I still suffer from back pain to this day!
Basically, I didn’t stop to evaluate the situation, I ran when I should have walked, I panicked when I should have looked at the dangers, and I have suffered ever since!
So next time someone says to you, oh it will be ok, don’t worry we do it all the time, it’s faster this way driver! Stop and think! is it safe, if it isn’t don’t do it!
I have heard managers say so many times that time is money, but a moment’s loss of concentration by rushing to do something can cause an accident, and accidents can leave scars for the rest of your life!
Don't Use Equipment That You are Unfamiliar With!
One of the biggest causes of injuries is lack of training with equipment, there are many pieces of equipment or machinery that a truck driver will experience when truck driving, equipment such as grabs, rear-mounted forklifts, valves, pumps, or simple things such as a pallet truck.
But is a pallet truck really simple? over the years I have had experience with tankers, concrete mixers, and pallet trucks, but recently I did a job on a small 18-tonne vehicle packed to the back doors with pallets and an electric pallet truck stuck into one of the pallets on the back of the truck.
What is the problem with that you might ask! basically, I had never used an electric pallet truck before, I have used pull-along trucks with no issues, and never considered that an electric one would be an issue!
It was! I came very close to coming off the tail lift on a few occasions until I got used to the way the pallet truck moved under power, and quite simply I should not have been using it because I had not been trained to use one!
So who’s fault would it have been if I had fallen from the tail lift? That’s simple mine!
To be honest, many drivers will try to use basic equipment rather than suffer the embarrassment of saying I don’t know how to use one of those, but from my experience, it really isn’t worth the risk.
as the old saying goes it is better to be safe than sorry!
I hope you found this short article interesting, but most of all I hope it makes you think about safety not only when delivering but also loading and unloading in your transport yard.
So be safe out there on the roads everyone! truck driving can be dangerous enough without adding unnecessary risks.