Dump trucks perform essential functions in the transportation industry. Dump trucks and their operators may be called upon to provide their services for the construction, land clearing, agricultural, and landfill sectors. As such, dump truck operators face many operational risks. Dump truck insurance is a foundational component of risk management for operators and truck owners. In this guide, we will explore safety practices that help supplement dump truck insurancecoverages and mitigate risks while operating dump trucks.
Common Risks in Dump Truck Operations
Dump trucks are typically large industrial vehicles. Depending on the loads being hauled, operation of this equipment may pose significant hazards. Loading and unloading of dump trucks is where many incidents happen. When the bed is raised, the vehicle can become unstable, especially on uneven surfaces or roadways. Common risks include:
- Truck tip overs
- Unbalanced loads
- Shifting loads leading to loss of control of the vehicle
- Crushing injuries between dump body and truck cab
- Rollover incidents
- Frozen loads becoming stuck to the dump body, leading to tip overs when the bed is raised.
A tip over or rollover incident can lead to severe injury, property damage, or even death of the truck operator. Dump truck insurance typically provides coverage against these incidents, but prevention of incidents from occurring in the first place ensures safety for operators and other road or site users.
Best Practices for Dump Truck Operator Safety
Drivers of dump trucks have a duty to operate their vehicles safely. Failing to do so can lead to tragedy, and incidents can strain even the most robust dump truck insurance policy. Federal and state regulatory agencies like the Federal Highway Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have issued safety guidelines for safe dump truck operations.
Basic safety practices include:
- Ensuring that truck tires are evenly and properly inflated before hauling a load.
- Distributing loads evenly to prevent shifting or unbalanced conditions.
- Avoid overloading dump bodies beyond manufacturers’ load weight ratings.
- Verify that surfaces are level and compacted before attempting to unload the dump body.
- Only operating the dump truck in a straight line when backing up.
- Ensuring that all personnel are clear of the truck as the dump body is raised or lowered.
If a rollover or tip over incident were to occur, many drivers attempt to climb or jump out of the vehicle as it is overturning. This can lead to severe injury or death. Drivers should be instructed to remain inside the vehicle with the seat belt buckled to reduce the chance of injury. The cab of the vehicle is the best available protection in a rollover incident. Seat belts must be worn during loading and unloading operations as well to help prevent injury if the truck should tip over.
For dump truck operators in areas with freezing weather, loads can become stuck to the inside of the dump body. When those loads are attempted to be dumped, the truck can tip over as the dump body is raised. Drivers should check temperatures before operating the vehicles in the winter months; antifreeze solutions may be applied to the dump body to prevent materials from sticking.
Training drivers on safe operations is an important part of the risk management process. Whether the drivers are new or are seasoned professionals, periodic safety training can help to prevent incidents from occurring. Many dump truck insurance providers offer risk management programs that include safety training for dump truck operators. With the right dump truck insurance, operating practices, and a safety-oriented workplace culture, risks can be controlled.
About Western Truck Insurance Services
Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!