How Flatbed Safety Systems Strengthen Fall Prevention
Gerdau, the largest long steel producer in North and South America, had a serious flatbed truck safety problem at one of their locations.
The Problem: Uneven Flatbed Loads Put Drivers At Risk For Serious Injuries
As with many companies, Gerdau’s flatbed truck drivers were climbing on top of the loads on their flatbeds to spread the tarps over them. Because these shipments contained a variety of hard and sharp steel products, falling on the product presented a serious risk of painful injury. Falling off the flatbed truck posed an even greater safety hazard.
Inadequate fall prevention is a serious problem in the industry. Falling from the top of a truck is likely to cause shoulder, neck or head injuries – if not death.
Because steel is a premium product, it has to be covered with a tarp to protect it from water, road grime and other corrosive elements. Since several of Gerdau’s drivers had experienced injurious falls while placing tarps over loads of steel, it was time to give drivers an efficient way to cover their flatbed truck loads with a tarp, while ensuring robust fall prevention and truck driver safety.
The Solution: Flatbed Safety Systems
Gerdau contacted Carbis Solutions and asked for help with increasing truck driver safety. Carbis’ safety engineers took a trip to get a close look at the site and evaluate the safety issues Gerdau’s drivers faced.
Uneven loads made climbing on top of the flatbed especially dangerous. When the loads were already covered, the drivers could not see gaps or where the load might shift. This greatly increased the chances of drivers experiencing serious injuries.
After carefully examining the location and what the drivers faced on a daily basis, the safety engineers came up with a solution to increase Gerdau’s fall prevention capabilities and keep drivers safer: flatbed safety systems.
These systems consist of two separate platforms with stairs and handrails. As the platforms provide even surfaces to walk on, drivers are protected from slips, trips and falls. Additionally, the rails and midrails offer even greater security and fall prevention.
In the flatbed safety system, a driver pulls the truck between the two platforms, then spring-balanced “Caution” arms with yellow and black stripes come down to provide fall prevention along the front and rear of the trailer. The platforms can be adjusted horizontally, allowing drivers to get close enough to easily place the tarp on the flatbed load.
Carbis Solutions designed and manufactured eight tarp placement stations: six with overhead covers to protect drivers and materials from inclement weather and two without protective covers to be used when weather, and business, is good and extra tarp placement stations are needed.
The Results: Happier Drivers And Fewer Workplace Injuries
Gerdau reports that once proper training had been provided, all of their drivers began using the system and are highly satisfied. The drivers feel much safer and don’t lose any time over the old, unsafe tarp placement process. Some of the drivers are so satisfied with the flatbed safety system that they’ve written testimonials to other companies urging them to install similar systems.
Additionally, as they are saving time and money due to fewer falls – leading to less downtime and other associated costs – Gerdau is also very satisfied with their decision to have Carbis Solutions design and install their flatbed safety systems.