Truck unloading is a daily activity in many businesses. It is also a regular source of
injuries to the driver, workers and visitors. Employers have a responsibility to ensure
they maintain a safe working environment. Forklift operators are also responsible for
the safety of others in the unloading area. This guideline should be used to help
management establish safe work procedures as it relates to vehicle unloading.
Establish an Unloading Area:
Area should be level to help maintain stability of the truck and trailer. The
ground should be free of potholes and debris.
Area should be free of overhead electric lines.
Area should be clear of other traffic -- vehicles or foot. Pedestrians, the truck
driver, or others employees not involved in the unloading process should be
clear of the area.
Area should have sufficient lighting for early morning or evening unloading.
If possible, the designated area should be a one-way route to prevent the need
for vehicles to back up. If a driver is required to back the vehicle, a spotter
should be used to protect pedestrians and property.
Guidelines for Truck Drivers:
After checking into the office, the driver should proceed to the designated area
and remove tarps, straps, or other load securement devices. Secure this
material so it is not an obstruction to the forklift operator during the unloading
Driver should secure vehicle, apply brakes, and turn off engine, as appropriate,
to prevent unsafe movement during the unloading operation.
Driver should proceed to a designated area (safe zone) located away from the
truck and outside of the unloading area. The driver should remain in that area
during the unloading operation.
NO material should be unloaded nor should any forklifts be operating in the
area around the truck until the driver has completed all of the tasks above and
moved to the designated safe zone.
Guidelines for Forklift Operators:
Operating a forklift should be limited to individuals who are trained and
qualified to do so, including general forklift safety topics and equipment
specific training. Initial training should be completed prior to authorization of
the driver to operate the forklift. Refresher training should be completed every
three years and following any forklift-related accident, property damage, or
Have a clear understanding of the material being unloaded; unloading a bunk
of 2x4 is different from unloading laminated beams or a pallet of roof shingles.
Check the load -- Make sure that the load has not shifted, banding is still in
place, and the overall load is in good condition and not likely to move or fall
during the unloading process.
No one, including other workers, should be on the opposite side of a truck from
a forklift while it is unloading material.
EMPOWER your forklift driver to stop the unloading process if the location of
the truck driver cannot be confirmed or someone else enters the unloading
zone. While unloading of material is an everyday activity at most operations, safety
cannot be taken for granted. It is management’s responsibility to ensure that proper
training and safe unloading procedures are in place and enforced.
NOTE: These guidelines should also be used for loading operations.
The following pages are a sample checklist that you can utilize to address