Tarping is the process of covering a load of a flatbed trailer with a tarp. Although it's best done using automated tarping equipment, these machines aren't always available, which means the truck driver must do the work manually.
Manual tarping is an awkward and often dangerous activity that many truckers dread. It can break bones, cause dangerous falls, cause a driver to be crushed, or lead to a truck accident. Here are three dangers of tarping:
Tarps are floppy, cumbersome, and can weigh over a hundred pounds. They can also catch the wind and knock the trucker off a ladder or off the top of the load. The fall distance can be 10 or 15 feet, depending on the height of the load. If possible, do your tarping on the leeward side of a building or inside an enclosed area.
Tarping may require standing on top of the tarped load. This surface is often uneven and full voids, which can cause a broken ankle or leg. Rainy, snowy, or icy conditions increase the hazard. If you must do your work on top of a load, take care not to place your weight on voids, and keep your center of gravity low by crawling. If the weather is poor or the tarp is covered with snow or ice, park the trailer in a warm building. Then allow the snow, ice, or moisture to melt and dry before doing your work.
Tarps are often held down with elastic tie-downs or strapping. If they're accidentally released or if they snap when under tension, you could lose an eye or suffer a severe facial injury. Stand to the side when tying down your tarp.
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