Safety is a massive concern in the transportation industry, and for good reason. The job is dangerous one by nature, with drivers shouldering responsibility for the safety of pedestrians and other drivers as well as their own well-being. A lot can go wrong when you’re talking about huge vehicles hauling thousands of pounds of cargo across the country.
But usually, the discussion around truckers and safety concerns what goes on behind the wheel – things like driver training standards, distracted driving, and fatigue. It’s not often you hear the words “truckers” and “working at heights” in the same sentence.
Believe it or not, heights do come into play in the industry, and truckers may need working at heights training as well.
Wait. When Do Truckers Work at Heights?
Think of the Canadian climate: between October and April, you’re bound to wake up some days with bucketful’s of snow on the top of your vehicle. We’re often reminded of the importance of keeping our vehicles clear of snow, both for our own safety and that of others on the road.
For most of us, that means brushing it away with a long broom or a brush. But how do you clear snow off the roof of a transport truck? That’s not something you can do from the ground with a snow brush. It requires you to climb up top – which means straddling a slippery, snow-covered roof 13 feet in the air.
And that’s not the only time truckers work at heights. Sometimes, the job requires that they climb up to strap tarps to the top of a flat deck.
In a story from Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine, Terry Shaw, the executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association, reminds us of this oft-forgotten part of being a truck driver.
“Sometimes these drivers are crawling around 13 feet in the air on top of a load of steel trying to apply a tarp and straps”, Shaw describes. “In the middle of winter, wind blowing, who knows what the lighting is like. Is fall restraint available? If it is, is it working? Are harnesses available?”
These are jobs that demand the use of proper fall protection. But not all truckers have adequate working at heights training to do the job safely.
Getting Schooled in Working at Heights
The above example illustrates how easy it is to overlook certain aspects of the job that could raise safety concerns. The provincial government is continually working with industries to raise awareness of the importance of schooling workers in training they need to do their jobs safely.
For an overview of working of heights training, check out www.pshsa.ca, Ontario’s public services health & safety association. Or, if you’re looking for training in your area, click here for working at heights training courses.