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Single Unit Truck (No Separated Trailer)

Truck with Separate Trailer

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Safety and Security

There are a number of safety considerations when planning and managing road cargo, these might include:

Load Securing – Ideally, cargo will be properly secured. A secured load does not just mean sealed to prevent theft, but also to prevent cargo from falling off, or worse, vehicles tipping over and causing accidents. Hard sided box trucks should be properly locked, while intermodal containers may be officially sealed depending on the delivery terms. Cargo stored on flat bed trucks or trailer should be properly tied down and covered. At minimum, cargo should not move around inside or on the truck surface as the vehicle moves, and there should be no spillage or falling items on the road causing hazards for people and other drivers. Local regulations might also govern things such as the vehicle weight, the way it is loaded and how the load is distributed.

Loader/Porter Safety - The process of loading and offloading trucks can be very dangerous. Flatbed, box or drop side vehicles may be loaded with the assistance of machinery such as forklifts or small cranes, both of which may move excessively heavy loads that can fall and injure bystanders. The area around trucks loaded with MHE should be cleared of unnecessary personnel, and any designated persons should be clearly marked with high visibility vests.

In humanitarian field settings, vehicles are often loaded by hand, frequently by low skilled labour. Porters should be able to safely and ergonomically load cargo onto vehicles:

  • Porters should not carry cargo of excessive bulkiness or weight
  • If the loading point does not have a drive up loading bay, porters should be able to safely step up and down from the vehicle bed without jumping or climbing.
  • Porters should only be expected to load for reasonable amounts of time, with breaks in between. Ideally loading teams would be split; 2-4 loaders on the truck and the necessary number of loaders carrying goods to and from the warehouse/depot/discharge point, reducing the need to enter or exit the vehicle.
  • Porters should be monitored for unsafe behavour or possible security concerns.

Road Conditions – In many humanitarian contexts, road conditions are extremely poor. Vehicles should be well maintained as possible, and drivers should not take unnecessary risks. Trucking on poor road conditions such as mud, loose soil or standing water can be augmented by the use of 6x6 trucks (3 axel axle vehicles will all wheel drive) or any vehicle with a drive shaft that powers the rear axles. Drivers should also understand the route, and have some experience navigating adverse driving conditions.

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