Are You Prepared For These 4 Common Tank Truck Safety Risks?

Learn about four common tank truck safety risks and evaluate whether you’re prepared.According to OSHA, loading and unloading liquids, especially those that are combustible, is one of the most dangerous tasks in any manufacturing or storage facility. Incorporating the proper safety equipment and procedures is key to helping your tank truck workers stay safe.

Damaged suspension-type highway trailers that can’t support the weight of tank trucks may cause injuries during loading and unloading. But even if your trucks are in perfect working condition, other safety risks exist.

Consider these four tank truck safety risks and how your organization can mitigate them.

1. Falls

Your workers may be hospitalized for fractures, head injuries and other serious problems if they fall from a tank truck. Even worse, their injuries may be fatal. In 2014, a tank truck driver backed his truck into the garage bay, exited the vehicle and climbed on top to vent the oil tanker compartments. He fell 10 feet to the concrete floor below and died the next day.

Standard cages and gangways often are insufficient for protecting against falls. That’s why it’s important to speak with a workplace safety expert about a more effective fall prevention system. Installing equipment such as truck loading racks helps to reduce the risk of falls, but the best-fit safety solution depends on your site and specifications.

2. Trips

Ensure you keep work areas tidy to prevent workers from tripping over equipment. While you may be under time pressure to load and unload your tank trucks, avoid sacrificing safety for speed. Leaving hoses out in the open could lead to employee injuries. Be sure to train your employees on proper safety procedures so they understand the risks of tripping over equipment and how to mitigate them.

3. Slips

Slips often occur when there’s not enough friction between a worker’s shoe and the floor surface. The following types of wet and dry floor contamination may lead to slips and injuries:

  • Water
  • Oil
  • Grease
  • Soap from cleaning solutions
  • Dust
  • Powders
  • Granules

Slips are especially common when a spill isn’t cleaned up immediately. In addition to cleaning up contaminants and ensuring no soap residue is left after cleaning, you can reduce the risk of slips by installing structural canopies to keep your loading equipment dry from rain water. As an added benefit, employees are able to work under more comfortable conditions when it rains.

4. Asphyxiation

Confined spaces are dangerous for workers handling chemicals, so you must check air quality to protect lives. You should consult an air monitoring equipment provider to purchase a product that detects fumes. Your safety equipment provider also can advise you on fall prevention solutions that minimize the risk of employees falling into a tank (and drowning) when fumes are inhaled.

The best way to keep employees safe when working with tank trucks is to partner with a safety expert that understands the problems you face. After evaluating your risks, you and your safety equipment provider should work together to develop a custom safety system that suits your facility and processes.

Whether that means purchasing a combination of elevating truck platforms, truck safety cages and full truck enclosures, or designing an alternative solution, your system should be tailored to your risks and requirements.

Does your worksite provide enough protection for workers? Take our free quiz to learn whether your site is safe.

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