Trailer Lift Gate Safety Practices

Trailer lift gates can be responsible for anything from a minor injury to a major, career altering incident. So, it seems like a good idea to remind everyone about lift gate safety whenever possible. No one needs an injury of any kind, on or off the job, that could endanger their career – or even worse, their life. And if that seems like an exaggeration… Well, you just can’t be too careful these days.

Considerations Involving Equipment Safety

  • Know your lift gate capacity and the weight of your freight.
  • When purchasing a lift gate equipped truck or trailer, notify your vendor that you require the lift’s gate, sill, craft plates, and body for to form a flat, uniform surface. (This allows for easy roll out and roll in of your freight.)
  • To prevent cargo from rolling off, consider pop up devices called lift gate cart stops.
  • Depending on your circumstances, you can likely benefit from a remote-control lift gate.
  • To prevent dropped cargo, keep your load level with a self-leveling lift gate.

Operations Considerations

  • Insist that a safe distance is kept by bystanders.
  • Devise a routine of operation between coworkers. The gate should not be started without the “ready” signal.
  • Operate the gate on a level surface whenever possible, and set the vehicle brakes.
  • Always have an escape plan. The freight should be sacrificed before you! Be ready, in order to prevent yourself from getting injured, to jump or run out of the way.
  • Don’t rush! Rushing causes distractions. At all times, the lift gate zone should be the focus of you and your workers.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If it is beyond your ability to control a piece of freight once it starts moving, it should not be put into motion without assistance.
  • Consider using a secured winch and a strap system with which to unload items.
  • To prevent an item rolling off the gate or tipping, strap top heavy loads securely.
  • For safe handling, put the right devices or wheels under an item before it is loaded.

Considerations for Pre-Operation

  • As a pre-trip check, run the empty lift gate through its full range.
  • As part of the vehicles’ inspection, perform daily, visual inspections on the lift gate and report deficiencies.
  • Always follow the directions detailed in the lift gate operator’s manual.
  • According to manufacturer’s instructions, maintain the lift gate appropriately.

Special Safety Matters

  • Always make sure the platform is free of snow, ice, rain, oil, etc.
  • For unloading on a busy street or curbside: make sure that safety lights mark the lift gate’s edges, use truck flashers, wear a reflective safety vest, and create a safe workspace with safety cones blocking traffic lanes.
  • Watch out for pinch points and keep feet and hands clear of them. Amputations have occurred due to distracted or careless workers where pinch points are concerned.
  • Cargo is the only thing that should be lowered or lifted with the lift gate. It is not a personal lift. Never use it on something for which it was not meant to be used.

At Mickey Genuine Parts, we carry a wide array of parts, trailers, and more. If we receive your order by 2 PM Eastern Standard Time, we can expedite it the same day. Parts not in stock can usually be shipped out within three days. We have customer-service individuals at the ready to handle your questions and concerns, as well as experienced, knowledgeable technicians to handle your repairs and customizations. Contact us today and experience the Mickey difference or yourself.

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