Like any other profession, there are strict rules that must be adhered to in order to avoid injury while working with a utility trailer and hydraulic dump. Most incidents that occur with hydraulic dumps occur when workers are emptying a load, when a bed is lowered unexpectedly, or when a raised bed contacts overhead power lines.
At Camco Wheel & Axle, we are more than just your #1 commercial truck accessories provider. We also advocate for worker safety and want all of our patrons to practice proper safety procedures when it comes to using their utility trailer and utility trailer accessories – especially their hydraulic dumps.
The most important rules to follow include:
1. Take Caution When Emptying a Load
Raising and lowering the bed of a truck or trailer puts workers at risk of injury. Controlling and eliminating these risks is the key to keeping them safe.
When a trailer is raising or lowering, it shifts the truck’s center of gravity, increasing the risk of tipping over on top of onlookers. That’s why distributing the contents evenly into the trailer is crucial. Doing so prevents the load from shifting during the unloading process.
When emptying the load, ensure that the bed of the trailer raises slowly. Too quickly and the rearward shift of the load can damage the lift mechanism or cause the truck to tip over.
You’re still not safe if your truck or trailer is on a level, flat surface. The risk is multiplied if your tire pressure is low, which creates a slope on one side of the trailer. High winds can push against a raised bed and tip it over as well.
As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. A little precaution before a crisis occurs is preferable to a lot of fixing and cleaning up afterward. Before delivering your next load, block the truck or trailer bed with an approved device like dump-box lock bars and make sure:
- To check your tire pressure daily.
- To check your lights, brakes, horn, and fluid levels.
- To inspect and repair your suspension systems.
- To lubricate your pins and bushings.
- To remove heavy dust from the hydraulic lines.
- To inspect and repair your hydraulic lift cylinders.
If you need assistance with hydraulic lift maintenance, Camco has experienced and skilled technicians who can provide you the best services in the Rio Grande Valley.
2. Lowering a Bed Unexpectedly Can Be Fatal
Another cause for concern when maintaining or repairing your hydraulic trailer is when the bed is lowered unexpectedly. If you don’t have a dump box lock bar, that could turn a routine maintenance checkup into a disaster.
If this life-saving tool is left out, a hoist cylinder failure can cause the bed of the trailer to lower unexpectedly, crushing whoever is below it. A dump box lock bar reduces the risk of the bed lowering unexpectedly by blocking the bed from coming down should the hoist cylinder fail or a worker mistakenly lower the bed while another individual is below it.
On top of life-saving tools, proper operator training can go a long way. Drivers of dump trucks and trailers should be aware and trained in the following:
- Routine maintenance and inspection.
- Recognizing dangerous conditions related to load distribution, unloading surfaces, and fire hazards from heavy dust on hydraulic lines.
- Hand signals and safety procedures for a two-person unloading operation.
3. Contacting Overhead Wires When Raising the Bed of the Trailer
It can happen when a driver grows impatient. Instead of waiting for the bed to completely lower, they drive off. In their error, the bed makes contact with a power line.
The driver may be fine inside of the cab as the rubber tires act as an insulator to protect them from electrical currents. However, if they were to leave the cab while the bed is still touching the overhead wires, dangerous levels of electrical current could zap right through the worker.
The most important step a driver should take is to be vigilant when lowering the bed of the trailer. They need to ensure that their hydraulic dump is properly lowered to protect themselves and others from overhead wires.
Quality services and safety is a top priority for Camco Total Vehicle Solutions.
Our specialized team of hydraulic technicians has been going at it for the past 30 years and they understand the importance of safety protocols better than anyone in the business.