A dump truck is a commercial vehicle used to load and unload cargo from an original site to a destination site. These vehicles are commonly used to transport sand, gravel and many other types of construction material. To properly empty a load requires specific skills as well as a clear knowledge of the unloading process in order to prevent harm to any person or property.
Operators of these vehicles must be licensed and well-trained to prevent any potential hazards at the work site and they must thoroughly read and follow any operator’s safety manuals before driving the vehicle.
Following are twelve easy steps to follow when unloading a dump truck that will always put safety first in the dumping procedure.
1. Check for potential hazards in the dumping area before initiating the backing procedure. You should adhere to all posted and printed workplace safety standards to prevent any work-related accidents. This is a part of risk prevention designed to lower insurance premiums by eliminating any unnecessary liability and/or workers compensation claims. It is true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
2. Ask a spotter to assist you in backing-up to prevent any foreseeable accidents and/or injuries. If a spotter is not available, utilize orange or green safety cones, placing them at the rear corners of the trailer to alert any passer-by that something hazardous will be occurring.
3. Check one more time to make sure that no one is within 20 or 30 feet of the rear of the truck and then get back into the cab.
4. Check side-view mirrors before backing to ensure that the area behind you is clear; turn on the hazard lights.
5. Step on the clutch and put the gear-shift in reverse mode and release the clutch pedal slowly while applying pressure to the gas pedal.
6. Back the truck slowly to get as close as possible to the edge of the dumping site when the material will be unloaded.
7. Check and recheck the site while backing, ensuring during the whole process that no bystanders are within a 20 to 30 foot radius of the rear of the vehicle.
8. When you are at the correct location, shift the gear to park position, set the parking brake and turn off the engine.
9. Go to the rear of the dump bed, unhook or unlock the tailgate. Engage the Power take-off (PTO) to raise the truck bed and apply downward pressure on the brake pedal.
10. Honk the horn to make a loud sound when the contents are starting to deposit on the ground. This is to alert bystanders and personnel that the discharging of the materials has begun. Many accidents occur during the unloading process due to the inattention of bystanders who may be hit by debris flying from the truck bed while it is being lifted for dumping.
11. Step on the clutch pedal and shift into first gear, allowing the vehicle to move forward slowly to totally discharge the material from the bed. Don’t attempt to move the truck at any faster speed by depressing the accelerator then stepping on the brake pedal as a sudden halt could cause damage to the trailer or the rear door.
12. When the material is totally unloaded, disengage the power take-off (PTO) to lower the dump bed. When the bed has totally descended onto the truck frame, go to the rear and lock the tailgate latch lever to secure the rear door. Now, you can head back down to the quarry to get more material.
Operating a dump truck requires education, training and proper vigilance. Workplace safety must be seriously maintained to control and eliminate preventable workplace hazards. It is very important to maintain an injury-free working environment to prevent fines and penalties. Compensation claims and revocation of the driver’s license are common results from negligence. Following all of the above steps will help ensure that your dumping experience is a satisfying one!