General Flatbed Safety

Not every load is the same. However, the outcome is the same, which is, to deliver the load in the same form in which you receive it.  Included here are some useful flatbed trucking guidelines from veteran drivers.


  • It is unwise to move a load without first securing it no matter how minimal the distance. Once the load gets unto your truck, you are responsible for it. Even if the shipper asks you to move out of the loading area, you cannot move until you secure the load.  There is nothing wrong in refusing to move until you have safely secured the load.
  • Ensure you use the correct number of straps and chains to fasten the load to the flatbed trailer.  Although the required number of chains to use is one for each 10,000 lbs. of weight, you can use more to keep the load safe while in transit.  Every state has its own requirements for securing flatbed loads. It is important that you find out what the FMCSA guidelines are for the states through which you will travel.
  • Loads can become loose as they settle during the drive. So, ensure you stop within the first hour of driving to check the load.
  • It is easy to be injured if you fall while tarping.  Don’t be afraid to use an available tarping station or machine. If neither of these are available, then move very carefully while laying and fastening your traps.  If you use a strap pusher to help you modify edge safety from the ground, it will reduce the number of instances you have to climb onto the load.
  • Must have gears include vest, safety glasses and a hard hat. Keep these in your truck because PPE wear is a requirement at many locations when handling loads.


  • Care your tools well. Store chains cautiously to prevent them from being tangled. Clean tarps and fix noticeable rips or holes. Use WD-40 or Lucas Oil to grease ratchet binders to keep them loose and free.
  • Always have substitutes for everything. Have additional gloves, tarps, straps and bungee cords, and gloves. You never know when the ones you are using will fail. Having extras will come in handy at times.
  • Coveralls are great for keeping your clothes clean when it is dusty or muddy. Keep these in your truck along with wet wipes so you can use them when necessary.
  • Ensure your toolkit has cordless drill with an Allen key. You need these to roll and put away your straps when you are driving without a load.    

The purpose of these flatbed-trucking guidelines is to help build your confidence as you prepare each load. Should you have questions regarding these guidelines or if you are uncertain as to how to secure a load, talk with you safety department of your fleet supervisor.