Protecting Against Injuries When Products Are Shipped
When packages arrive safe and sound we rarely think about the safety rules that serve to protect everyone in the shipping industry against injuries. Over the years however, we have had many occasions when our clients suffered injuries as a result of someone failing to take proper care during shipping. For example, we have assisted a business owner who had an air compressor fall on top of him while it was being unloaded from a delivery truck. We have helped semi-truck drivers who have had products fall out of trailers when the trailer doors were opened. We helped a tandem trailer operator who fell when trying to couple a trailer to a fifth wheel converter dolly which was broken and rolled during the coupling operation. We helped a semi driver whose trailer rolled when chains securing the load he was given snapped. We helped a truck driver who had a crane drop a load of steel on his trailer while he was seated in the cab of the tractor. We have even helped railroad employees injured when trying to move loads off of rail cars that were not properly secured.
A common thread running through these shipping injury cases is a failure to properly train workers in appropriately analyzing, handling, and loading and unloading freight. Proper safety training should include the ability to determine the appropriate equipment to secure a load and to move a load. Appropriate safety training should involve learning how to recognize load instability and how to handle top heavy packages, or what to do when finding goods fastened to pallets that have become broken or bowed during shipment.
Workers must be trained on when not to attempt to move packages that come loose or are damaged in transit without carefully assessing the dangers and making sure that suitable equipment and additional help is available. Ties and chains used to secure loads must be of the required strength rating (using a chain to secure a load that is not rated for the load would be like attempting to tow a car with a shoe string) and workers must be taught how to read the code markings on chains that specify the load ratings for the chain.
Additionally, manufacturers must not use defective and unreasonably dangerous means to load pallets, or otherwise fail to properly secure their loads readied for transit. When someone fails to do their job or mistakenly anticipates that someone else will perform the safety steps for them, injuries can become inevitable, even in an industry that has developed tried and true safety protocols.