By now, summer is almost over. Kids will soon be heading back to school and we are all hoping for a busy fall. This month, I’d like to offer some tips for construction truckers.
In the construction trucking industry, most contractors don’t allow owner/operators or drivers time to stop for lunch. We recommend having a healthy breakfast and bringing a lunch and thermos with lots of protein, veggies, fruit and water.
Your personal protective equipment should include: fluorescent vest; coveralls; gloves; safety glasses; safety boots; a hard hat; and hearing and respiratory protection.
Your basic tool kit should include: a two-pound hammer (hammer to check your tire pressure several times per day), a 10-to 18-inch crescent wrench; an assortment of pliers, vice grips, screwdrivers, half-inch drive socket set; ratchet; a set of combination wrenches; an electrical circuit tester; and an assortment of electrical connectors, nuts, bolts, screws and nails.
Don’t forget a roll of duct tape, wire and wire cutters. A 30-ft. air hose with an air gauge is helpful as well. You should also carry a tow strap or heavy tow chain, a flat-nose shovel, a broom, scraper, spare mud flap, brake line anti-freeze and extra engine oil and anti-freeze.
Make sure you do a thorough pretrip inspection. If you have done your post-trip and in-route inspections properly the day before, your pre-trip should always pass the test.
Make sure you document your pre-, post-and in-route inspections including your daily log book details. Ensure customer and company paperwork is filled out properly daily and returned as required.
Ensure you have received and understood all dispatch instructions and details such as the load site, dump site and loading/dumping instructions as well as the proper haul route to follow.
When you are at the load site and dump site, stay off your cell phone, CB radios and VHF radios. No e-mailing or texting. Turn the stereo down and pay attention to what’s going on on-site. Stay in line and don’t pass other trucks unless they are having a problem.
Pay close attention to on-site workers like flagmen and stay out of their way. Pay special attention to your blind spots and site hazards like overhead power lines, manhole covers, water valves, open and exposed pipes, etc.
After loading, pull over to clean your tarping area. Clean off sideboards, tailgate hitches and wherever material will hang up.
Alternate your route when travelling at loading and dumping sites to avoid rutting up the site.
When entering the dump site, always obey instructions and keep your loads dumped tight rather than spread out. Always dump at the furthest point in the dumping area to allow room for other tucks to enter the dump area. Dump as quickly as possible and then move out of the dump area to clean so you don’t cause congestion in the dump area.
Keep your box as clean as possible to ensure there is no build-up of material inside your box. Clean off your hitch, close your gates and proceed to the load site as soon as possible.
At the end of the day, make sure you get your haul and time cards signed and all appropriate paperwork documented and exchanged with the customer.
Fuel your truck at the end of the day and do a thorough post-trip inspection. Advise your supervisor if any repairs are required. If you follow this advice, you will contribute to a safe, productive job site.
-Ron Singer is owner of Ron Singer Truck Lines and president of the Alberta Construction Trucking Association. He can be reached at 403-244-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.ACTA’s Web site is www.myacta.ca.