Loading Logging Trucks

Topic: Forest Products
Date: May 11, 2020

Steve Barnett, Vice President and Forest Products Program Manager

Our top tips for reducing the risk of accidents

Moving thousands of pounds of logs onto a truck and then securing it for transport is not an easy task. Not surprisingly, it’s a high-risk activity. Many fatalities and serious injuries can occur as a result of logs falling and hitting drivers or operators.

The good news is that many accidents can be avoided by establishing clear policies and work practices with your team to correctly and safely load your trucks.

Our team of experts regularly visits logging operations to identify potential risks and develop practices to reduce risks. Here are some of their top tips:


Did you know poor communication is the main cause of most loading accidents? That’s why communication between the truck driver and the loader is essential throughout the entire loading process. We recommend the driver and loading machine operator establish and confirm oral, visual or radio communication.

Establish a safe area while loading

During the loading process, the driver should stay at an agreed place outside the work area of the loading machine. Preferably, this area should be in the loading machine operator’s line of sight.

It is very unsafe for the driver to stay in the cab while loading occurs. That’s because the logs may pass over the cab throughout the process, potentially putting the driver at high risk should the log accidentally drop.

While in the safe zone, the driver should wear a hard hat and proper protective equipment.

Only once the loading operator has completed the loading process and has communicated that he or she has finished, can the driver leave the safe zone and begin securing the load.

Properly load the logs

We recommend placing larger and longer logs at the bottom of the load. The operator must also pay attention to ensure the loads are below the top of the standard.

To help protect drivers on the road, it’s also important that loads do not extend beyond the maximum overhang beyond the rear bolster allowed by state or federal law. The same goes for trimming specifications.

Secure the logs

The final step in the loading process is to properly secure the logs. Secure the load with the number and type of binders required by state or federal law.

If you’re using nylon straps to secure the load, we recommend you do not throw the straps over the logs with an overhand baseball throw as this may result in a shoulder injury.

If you’re using chain lashings with an over-center lever style load binder, be cautious when using the extension bars to increase the tension. They are dangerous as they can rebound quickly and release, which could result in striking someone.

Finally, always attach an appropriate warning flag or light to your load, following state or federal guidelines.

The process of loading logging trucks has many potential risks, but with proper caution and training the dangers can be greatly decreased.

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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