Flatbed drivers are in a click of their own. Their jobs involve more lifting and a bit more risk than most other types of trucking. There are several things to consider before taking a job doing this.
First of all, there's tarping your load. Any weather sensitive loads (and frustratingly enough some which aren't) need to be covered with a tarp. Now I have heard of some shippers which will tarp your load for you. Often times its because the manufacturer owns their own trucks and will tarp the loads they ship. But don't get your hopes up...it's rare.
Tarping a load is a HUGE pain in the neck. The tarps are big and can easily weigh up to 100 pounds. A large part of the time you are simply outside in a parking lot without any protection from the weather “throwing a tarp” as they say. You take a heavy tarp and add rain, snow, ice, and mud, and you have one miserable job ahead of you. The tarps are a thick, rubber-based material which gets very stiff when it gets cold.
If your tarp gets wet and then freezes you'll have a layer of ice on it. Are you starting to see how much fun this can be? Most companies pay you to tarp the load, but whether or not it's worth the money for the trouble is something you have to decide from experience. My experience? No way.
Flatbeders are prone to injury more than most other types of drivers and the vast majority of them happen while throwing a tarp. The bed of the trailer is usually part aluminum and part wood. They put a few rows of oak boards down the length of the trailer to allow nails to be driven in to help secure the loads. Everyone has experienced the pleasure of trying to walk on wet, snow, or ice covered boards.
It's a nightmare.
As you can surely imagine, the aluminum portion of the trailer is no better. Most injuries occur while trying to lift something heavy, falling off the trailer, or while trying to use a “cheater bar” to get leverage while cranking down on the ratchet straps. Back and shoulder injuries are most common, while falling off a trailer can lead to all sorts of injuries to your head, knees, ankles, elbows, and hips.
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