Tarping: A Dangerous Trucker Activity That Creates Work Comp Claims

Tarping is the process of covering a load of a flatbed trailer with a tarp. Although it's best done using automated tarping equipment, these machines aren't always available, which means the truck driver must do the work manually.

Manual tarping is an awkward and often dangerous activity that many truckers dread. It can break bones, cause dangerous falls, and may cause a driver to be crushed. Here are three dangers of tarping:

Gusty Winds

Tarps are floppy, cumbersome, and can weigh over a hundred pounds. They can also catch the wind and knock the trucker off a ladder or off the top of the load. The fall distance can be 10 or 15 feet, depending on the height of the load. If possible, do your tarping on the leeward side of a building or inside an enclosed area.

Slippery and Uneven Surfaces

Tarping may require standing on top of the tarped load. This surface is often uneven and full voids, which can cause a broken ankle or leg. Rainy, snowy, or icy conditions increase the hazard. If you must do your work on top of a load, take care not to place your weight on voids, and keep your center of gravity low by crawling. If the weather is poor or the tarp is covered with snow or ice, park the trailer in a warm building. Then allow the snow, ice, or moisture to melt and dry before doing your work.

Strapping Dangers

Tarps are often held down with elastic tie-downs or strapping. If they're accidentally released or if they snap when under tension, you could lose an eye or suffer a severe facial injury. Stand to the side when tying down your tarp.

More Tips

  • If at all possible, avoid climbing on the load and using ladders.
  • Use tarping machines when they're available.
  • Ask forklift operators to lift the tarp for you.
  • Strapping can be tossed over the top of your load to secure the tarp. Attach a weight to one end of the strap for easier throwing.

If you are having trouble getting the work comp benefits you need for recovery from a work-related injury, get legal advice from the experienced lawyers at Odegaard Braukmann Law. To schedule a free consultation, please contact us.

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