Despite having to pass a TSA- and US Department of Transportation-required security threat assessment to transport hazardous goods, there are still safety concerns drivers of hazardous materials have to contend with. Whether you’re a driver, a fleet owner or a business manager in charge of transportation logistics for hazardous materials, make a point of practicing tips that will help prevent truck accidents while transporting hazardous items – to save your company from a lawsuit and to protect your employees and others on the road.
Double Check Everything is Secure
When transporting Hazmat, one single loose piece can send the entire truck’s contents into disarray. Before you move the vehicle, double or even triple check that everything is securely fastened in place and sealed as necessary. Have several people perform the check and don’t rely entirely on the driver alone. A check by both the people loading the items and the driver will help make sure any potential issue is noticed.
Perform Frequent Truck Maintenance
Trucks that transport hazardous items need to be even more reliable than other types of trucks. That means you need to perform maintenance more regularly. Check the vehicle for any wear and tear between every load. If the items require cold storage, make sure the refrigerator and any other parts responsible for temperature regulation are in working order. Double check the oil and the levels of coolant. The last thing you need when transporting hazardous items is to have to pull over for unscheduled maintenance and have that material sitting exposed and possibly getting heated.
The trucking industry is sometimes known for expecting drivers to work long shifts with minimal breaks between. When it comes to hazardous materials, you can’t push drivers to their limits. Don’t put the same driver on too many long shifts in short succession. If possible, make sure each driver works in shifts under eight hours each. Drivers responsible for hazardous goods need to be alert, rested and careful on the road, so do what you can to give them the best possible conditions for their shifts.
Consult with a lawyer who’s had experience dealing with hazardous materials accident lawsuits for more tips to prevent liability. Make sure you have good insurance coverage, but do everything you can to make sure your company never needs to use it. Review these tips and company practices with your staff on a regular basis to make sure they’re being followed.