Dos and Don’ts on Loading and Transporting Heavy Equipment
Updated: Nov 12, 2021
When transporting and loading heavy types of equipment one must be aware of and address both the legal and safety aspects. Machines are heavy-duty, they are built to survive for a long time, and out of iron. These need to operate and perform in very demanding operating environments. Heavy equipment needs to be handled with extreme respect to ensure safety and efficiency. The loading and unloading of heavy equipment can be a safety concern in the actual act of loading and unloading as well as the way the equipment is secured to the trailer deck. If you need to relocate your machines or fleet, there are some dos and don'ts that you need to keep in mind.
Here are a few dos and don'ts on transporting and loading equipment.
One must first have a plan. A Bill of Lading is the basic outline of this plan. It will include the name of the entity responsible for the pieces of equipment being shipped, an itemized list of the items being transported by make, model, and serial number, as well as the pick-up and drop-off points. A good logistics coordinator will take this one step further and have exact times coordinated with both locations as most will require an appointment for loading and unloading.
If one chooses to take on the task of moving a piece of equipment on their own experience as a helper should be a pre-requisite before flying solo. State DOT regulations will mandate that certain requirements be met if one chooses to carry a piece of equipment on a public roadway. Vehicle and trailer manufacturers will provide gross weight requirements as well as capacities and towing capacities. It is up to the individual driving to be sure that the truck and trailer qualify per those guidelines.
Ensure that all the equipment is pre-inspected for regulatory and safety compliance. If you have a commercial driver's license then you are required to do a pre-trip on your haul setup. Lights, hoses, leaks are all things that should be inspected and looked for during this time.
Log any potential abnormalities and report the damages immediately before you continue or consult with your supervisor. This will help you in enhancing the longevity of your equipment, and keep you and others safe on the roadway.
Always use the proper chains and binders when moving equipment on wheels. This will secure the unit to the trailer deck even in a heavy braking scenario. Straps do not have the strength to hold a wheeled machine in place during extreme changes in velocity. For lift trucks weighing under 15,000 lbs. one chain in front and one in the rear should suffice. Anything over that should have one chain on each corner of the unit securing it down to the trailer deck. I’m sure the DOT guidelines vary from state to state so it would be wise to do the due diligence and know your local laws on this.
You need to use a spotter when you lift heavy equipment and put it on or off the vehicle whenever possible, or if your vision is impaired by the load.
Place proper barricades, flaggers, and warning signs in the place where you load or unload the equipment to keep any public safe. You should ideally also have a safety crew in place to avoid any unexpected accidents.
Visit the site of loading and unloading and look out for any overhead or road obstructions like out-of-place power lines or broken trees.
Once you load your equipment, secure it completely and double-check the restraints and positions. If your equipment is not secure in proper places, it can overload an axle of the trailer or truck. Loose equipment pieces can even pose a danger to other people on the road. Secure any loose panels and inspect the machine for any loose tools or parts left behind.
Be patient. Transporting heavy machinery is a complex job. Make sure that you give other vehicles plenty of space. Remember that you are now asking the brakes of your haul truck and trailer to bring their weight plus the weight of the equipment to a stop.
Don't forget to wear safety gear such as your seat belt.
Don't exceed the speed limit. Heavy equipment adds mass to the truck and trailer creating more momentum. This causes your vehicle to be harder to control and will take longer than usual to stop.
Don't run the engine in enclosed areas unless there is satisfactory ventilation there.
Don't merge any lanes until you are completely sure that all possible blind spots are accounted for. Ensure that you are signaling any changes in your lane with a warning. Make sure that the other drivers have space to clear the road for you. Irresponsible and careless driving can damage your equipment, lose you your life, job, and license.
Never let your vehicle or the mounted equipment get in touch with a power line. Make sure that you stay at least 10 feet away from power lines at all times, especially the high voltage power lines.
Don't play loud music or wear earphones or headphones while you drive.
Transporting heavy equipment and machinery is a challenging task. You need to pay special attention to the safety of the equipment and the safety of your moving crew and team. You should pay attention to keeping your team and others involved safe during the entire process.
Should you decide to leave the relocation of your prized heavy equipment leave it to the professionals. Even if you didn’t purchase your equipment at Permian Machinery Movers, Inc.
We will still gladly provide you with a quote to relocate your equipment whether it be a single unit or an entire fleet. While you’re at it why not sign up to have one of our techs go over the machine and take care of any service issues that it may have. We are a one-stop shop for all of your material handling needs. Please give us a call at one of our three locations across Texas and we will get you taken care of!