Equipment

Four Safety Measures When Transporting Heavy Equipment

Here are some of the many considerations all heavy equipment movers should address before beginning the journey. Arriving at the destination intact is the primary objective, and point-to-point safety must be the first concern.
By David Zile
March 11, 2020
Topics
Equipment

Transporting heavy equipment is a specialized shipping method that requires experienced drivers and equipment-loading professionals at the point of origin. The use of a standard flatbed trailer is often not the proper design for this task either, as lifting the equipment onto the deck can be a challenge.

In addition, wide load transport problems are also a factor while the cargo is in transit, which means that a significant flagging team should be included in the process as well. Thinking the trip through beforehand is vital, especially when mapping the route around any low overpasses that may be encountered when the equipment is being moved through a city. All of these circumstances should be evaluated prior to selecting the correct trailer for the job.

1. Choose the Right Trailer

When choosing the right trailer for the next hauling job, the dimensions of the cargo or equipment should be considered first. While a standard flatbed trailer can be used for certain heavy equipment of smaller dimensions, this is not always the best choice. Tilt trailers are also attractive haulers because they can make loading and unloading easier in many situations.

Gooseneck trailers are also commonly used when the equipment is especially heavy or the weight is unbalanced. The goose neck shape provides more leverage for carrying security for some loads. Tandem dual bed trailers are also good selections for some equipment, but they take up a significant portion of the highway when being moved.

Extra support staff is also necessary in some cases when moving heavy equipment with a dual bed trailer. The right choice for many transporting jobs is actually the lowboy trailer, as many companies that move heavy equipment as a part of their regular operations will use this type of trailer more than any other.

2. Bring an Adequate Transportation Staff

Flagging for an oversized load is very important to complete the project safely. There should always be at least one vehicle driving ahead of the primary load with overhead caution lights engaged anytime the equipment is in transit. This lets oncoming traffic know the big-rig is coming directly behind. The same is true for the flagging vehicle in the rear because smaller vehicles that are exceeding the speed limit can run up on a hauling crew quickly and not notice until it is too late. Traveling at a reduced speed is also a very good idea when moving heavy equipment because of damage that could occur if the equipment shifts or becomes insecure for any reason. Using multiple flagging vehicles helps immensely in this regard as well.

3. Inspect the Trailer in Detail

All equipment used for hauling heavy equipment should always be inspected prior to transport. This includes the tractor rig as well as the trailer. All connection points should be solid and using additional books to help anchor the load is also a good decision when it is possible. While many transportation routes will be in a good state of repair, rough roads can cause equipment to work loose when major potholes are hit on the highway. All running lights on the big-rig assembly and the flagging escorts should be in proper working order and in compliance with all state laws incurred on the route. In addition, many final stretches of roadway to a project site could be gravel or even worse when finally arriving at the intended destination. This is a central component in planning beforehand because it is always important to know what problems may arise with unloading.

4. Be Prepared for Emergencies

Often times, there are difficulties in the shipping process that cannot be avoided, many of which are not caused by the rig. For example, having to wait due to an accident blocking the highway can mean the heavy load will need to be rested and started up once again when traffic begins moving, and all escorts should be aware of enhanced safety concerns during the process. This is even more important when the equipment takes up a portion of the opposite lane. Many times, traffic is held in one direction while the other direction is waved by, and the dimensions can be problematic without effective flags and escorts.

These are some of the many considerations all heavy equipment movers should address before beginning the journey. Always remember that arriving at the destination in tact is the primary objective, and point-to-point safety is the first concern throughout the movement.

by David Zile
Written by David Zile of Hale Trailers’ Allentown branch. Founded in 1972 by Barry Hale, Hale Trailer is one of the largest full-line heavy-duty parts inventories in the nation with a team of highly trained trailer technicians and experts on staff.

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