Taking A Look At Securing A Flat-Bed Load

Topic 3287 | Page 3

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Old School's Comment
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The round spools between the rail and the trailer deck are designed to have the chain wrapped around them. They are intrinsically stronger than the stake pockets, by the fact that they are round, and welded all the way around on both ends. The stake pockets tear easily when a load is placed on them, like from a panic stop, or a long cheater bar and a snap binder or ratchet binder. Our safety dept. got a clarification on this from the East Corp.

TailGunner, I was reluctant to do this thread at first because I've been in enough conversations with other flat-bedders to know that people would be contradicting things in here, but it's important that we realize what was already stated. Those round units are different on each trailer manufacturers units. I know at our company I've seen five different configurations - that's because they are there simply as spacers to hold the rub rail in a rigid position away from the edge of the trailer. You may find a brand of trailer where they are stronger than the stake pockets, but the stake pockets have to meet a certain WLL criteria for the D.O.T. and that is 5,400 lbs. - the spacers do not have to meet any requirements. I've seen a few stake pockets that have been torn away a little with a crack in the weld on some of our trailers, but I've seen a lot of those spacers that have been torn completely off.

I'm not claiming to be an ultimate authority here, but I am going to see if I can find the regulatory support to back up the things I was taught when I first learned these basics on load securement.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Hey, question for you guys . . . since flatbeds are open and the load is obvious, how much info about a refer load or a dry van load does the driver have to know . . . especially if the driver hooks up to a pre-loaded trailer, how much does he have to know about HOW it was loaded beside weighing out the axles to see how it is distributed . . . does the driver normally do a quick inspection of the contents and make a judgement about the stability of the load or does he/she more or less "trust" that the people who loaded it are good at what they do and conscientious about making sure the load is stable and not prone to move in case of some event down the road?

Jopa

smile.gif

I do nothing but dry van though I have 15 years of experience pulling all kinds of refer unit. If you are picking up a pre loaded trailer you have 3 responsibilities.

Pre trip it and make sure it's legal and safe to run.

Most pre loads are sealed but not always the case. If the trailer is not seal then by law your are responsible for the load securement. If the trailer is sealed then you are not responsible for the load securement unless specifically told to break the seal and go inside the trailer.

And 3rd you are always responsible without fail for the weight of the load. It has to be legal for the areas you are going to be running in. To keep it simple your weight should be no more than a maximum of 12k on the steers. 34k on the drives and 34k on the tandems of the trailer. Now there are alot of state rules that can effect weight on axles and the allowed maximum weights per axel but I don't want to confuse anyone but let's just say there are times you can be over these numbers and be completely legal and without a permit.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Those round units are different on each trailer manufacturers units

Without a doubt the trailer manufacturers themselves will have literature on it. The trailers would need to meet certain standards in order to be legal for highway use so the manufacturers would have to have the specs on everything. Not to mention there's probably only been a million lawsuits over the years regarding loads that have come off the trailers and I'm sure the lawyers went over every spec in detail.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Okay, after doing a little more research I have found that the FMCSA regulations on the anchor points on a flat -bed trailer is sort of a grey area. Basically they say that the anchor points on the trailer need to be "sufficient" to hold the load on the trailer, but don't give a specific WLL rating requirement. Where my information for the 5,400 lb. WLL rating of the stake pocket came from is the manufacturer of the trailers we use. So this could vary from the different trailer manufacturers. They are only required to provide sufficiently strong enough anchor points to hold the load on to the trailer. So, as TailGunner pointed out, the trailer that he is using may very well be constructed in such a way for the spacers to be used as anchor points. But in my case the trailer manufacturer provides no WLL information for the spacers and therefore according to the regulations they have to be considered as not having a load rating.

I would be curious to hear from some other flat-bed drivers in here on where they have been instructed to anchor their chains on their flat-beds. One of the great things about a discussion like this in a forum format is that it helps us to dig a little deeper into the information available to us and therefore learn a little more about how to go about our jobs in a safe and professional way.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Jopa, you basically don't know and cannot know. If its a preloaded trailer you cannot know how it is loaded. Get it legal and drive it as if its top heavy. Most trailers have a small door you can open in the back of the trailer so you can see how it looks in the back of the trailer.

If I have a preloaded trailer and there's no small door in the back of the trailer then I just drive it thinking that its top heavy. I say that because you drive top heavy loads a lot different than you drive other loads. Just tell yourself that its a dangerous load and drive it carefully and you'll be fine.

Reefer doesn't have many preloaded trailers so you can usually see how its loaded or at least see how the back of it looks like when you're closing the trailer doors after a Live Load.

There's really no magic way of knowing. Just pick up the trailer and drive it. Then hope everything is ok when you're delivering it.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar

Okay, after doing a little more research I have found that the FMCSA regulations on the anchor points on a flat -bed trailer is sort of a grey area. Basically they say that the anchor points on the trailer need to be "sufficient" to hold the load on the trailer, but don't give a specific WLL rating requirement. Where my information for the 5,400 lb. WLL rating of the stake pocket came from is the manufacturer of the trailers we use. So this could vary from the different trailer manufacturers. They are only required to provide sufficiently strong enough anchor points to hold the load on to the trailer. So, as TailGunner pointed out, the trailer that he is using may very well be constructed in such a way for the spacers to be used as anchor points. But in my case the trailer manufacturer provides no WLL information for the spacers and therefore according to the regulations they have to be considered as not having a load rating.

I would be curious to hear from some other flat-bed drivers in here on where they have been instructed to anchor their chains on their flat-beds. One of the great things about a discussion like this in a forum format is that it helps us to dig a little deeper into the information available to us and therefore learn a little more about how to go about our jobs in a safe and professional way.

When I was driving flatbed for Prime, we were told to use the spacers, not the stake pockets because the spacers were rated @ 6600 lbs. So as you have pointed out Old School, not everyone does things the same. Also the stake pockets tended to "rip out" if used incorrectly, making them useless for their intended purpose.

In the case of coils, we always put 1 extra chain pulling toward the rear for safety (if loaded suicide (eye to the side)). So it all depends on the federal rules & what extra the company you work for wants in addition.

Ernie

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Wow...I've gotta say this is quite an unnerving conversation. I mean, how can things like this even be left up for debate? It seems there should be very black and white, clear-cut rules written by the manufacturers of these trailers that spell out exactly where to properly anchor a load to a trailer. There should be no room left for doubt or ambiguity. And I'm not blaming any of you guys that are having this conversation. I'm just saying this is not something there should be any confusion about whatsoever.

wtf.gif

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Wow...I've gotta say this is quite an unnerving conversation.

Welcome to the flat-bedders world! I kind of knew how this would go, I've heard it all before. I'm actually appreciating the input and hope to get some more. I'd like to hear from some Melton drivers, and Roehl drivers. Heck, I'd like to hear from any flat-bed drivers on how their company recommends anchoring the chains.

I've got a lot more to add to this conversation including some photos which show why we don't use the spacers, but I've go to get to bed right now - it was a long day today, and I've got to start early tomorrow if I am gonna make my schedule on time.

Rico's Comment
member avatar

It seems that there is no set industry standard. Some trailer manufacturer build their trailers with the stake pockets designed for anchoring loads, and others build them with the spacers in mind for anchoring loads.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I kind of knew how this would go, I've heard it all before

Well that makes me twice as thankful you brought this up then. Because I didn't even realize this situation was going on. I've been known to say, "It isn't rocket science, but people sure make it seem that way sometimes." This is one of those situations for sure. The trailer manufacturers, in step with these flatbed companies should have this issue locked down tight. There should be no confusion or misinterpretation whatsoever on something this simple and critical.

I'm hoping to start digging through some of the Federal regulations for load securement today and maybe pop in on a trailer manufacturer or two looking for specs or manuals or something. I want to get a feel for the information available and see if I can't start putting together ideas for a module in the High Road Training Program.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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