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

near-miss incident.

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

loading/unloading exposures.

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Austin, TX 78746


Tel: 512-327-3422

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