Load Securement

Date: November 30, 2021

Nancy Rigby, BITCO Home Office Technical Specialist, Risk Control

Strapping and Unstrapping Log Trailers

It is your responsibility to safely use tie-downs and consider all risk factors before using any tie-down system. Failure to properly tie down a load can lead to injuries that result in expensive claims.


Securing and unsecuring loaded log trailers may become so routine to drivers that they become complacent, and their actions become dangerous.

Strapping Loads

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, and high visibility vests are required when strapping loads. Walk around the trailer on both sides to verify no one is around. Once the area is clear, use the underhand toss method to throw the strap over the trailer. Next, ensure the winch-tie-down bar is fully inserted into the spindle before tightening. The cranking mechanism should work correctly, and the ratchet is fully engaged. Finally, stand to the side of the bar and out of the strike zone.

Unstrapping Loads

Unstrapping a load also requires PPE to be worn. Before unstrapping the load, verify that no one is around the trailer on either side. Once you are ready to begin, position yourself on the side of the strap and out of its direct path, as it comes off the trailer. Once the strap reaches the edge of the load, give a hard tug to force the buckle to travel outward from the trailer and not straight down. Apply a contrasting color of tape to the strap to indicate the distance when the end of the strap is near.

Underhand Toss Method

The underhand toss method may require some practice, but it reduces the trauma to the shoulder, back and neck. Before securing the load, briefly warm up shoulder muscles with stretching or a few partial throw movements. Use a reverse coil on the straps, stand back from the trailer, and throw underhand so the strap will unwind itself as it travels over the logs.

Drivers and Onlookers

Although commonly thought of as "simple tasks," the strapping and unstrapping of a loaded trailer present many hazards to drivers and onlookers. To protect themselves,

  • Wear appropriate PPE.
  • Watch for others that may be in the immediate area.
  • Stay out of the path of straps and tie-down bars.

Our goal is to help you run a safer operation. Interested in learning more tips on how to reduce the risks in the logging industry? Click the "Find an Agent" button below and locate an agent near you.

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For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.

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