This OSHA Focus Four Toolbox Talk provides tips for working safely around and when securing loads. Click below to download the Toolbox Talk as a handout (includes Sign-In Sheet).




Working Safely Around and/or Securing Loads

Ask the following questions and give time for answers:

  • What are the hazards of working around (suspended or moving) loads?
    • Loads releasing onto workers from trucks or storage areas, materials dropped on workers while loading trucks or unstrapping loads.
  • What are the results?
    • Crushed or broken limbs, head injuries, amputations, death
  • What should we look for?
    • Poorly stacked building materials, lopsided loads on trucks, loads not properly tied down, materials being lifted by cranes near work areas.


Actual Incident

A 45-year old crane operator died while rigging a load. A tractor-trailer driver unstrapped the load to ready it for lifting. The operator climbed onto the load during rigging and it rolled off the trailer and crushed him. The tractor-trailer driver was not at a meeting earlier that day where drivers were told that their loads had to be kept strapped.


How Do We Prevent These Results?

(Ask this question and ensure every item is covered.)

  • Keep workers who are not involved in loading areas.
  • Load materials for maximum stability. Distribute weight evenly and keep materials level. Secure loads following safe and appropriate industry practices.
  • Consider having a competent person inspect incoming freight to identify those that pose serious hazards during unloading.
  • Nail 2×4 boards to the floor of cargo areas to secure equipment with wheels.
  • Make sure cargo does not restrict driver’s vision, free motion, exit from the vehicle, or access to emergency supplies.
  • Stack and store materials with no more than a 4:1 height to base ratio and keep materials back from the edge.
  • Perform rigging only if you are qualified. Choose the right equipment and inspect it prior to each use. Tag and take defective rigging equipment out of service!
  • Each day before use, slings and all fastenings and attachments shall be inspected for damage or defects by a competent person designated by the employer.


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