Trailer Climbing Training Guide

Cargo Tank SafetyThe Cargo Tank Risk Management Committee recognizes that truck drivers who routinely climb on top of cargo tank motor vehicles as a part of their regular work assignments are at the greatest risk for slips and falls. Since slips and falls are the most common workplace injury for trucking companies, training drivers in prevention techniques is extremely important to avoid injuries.

Extensive safety training and retraining on the prevention of slips and falls should be provided for all new and current driver employees. Special attention should be given to proper walking, carrying, climbing and descending cargo tank ladders, vehicles and equipment. Unsafe practices should be corrected immediately.

The Cargo Risk Management Committee has developed a minimum suggested standard for driver training to reduce the potential for falls while climbing cargo tank motor vehicles.

Why Does Slips and Falls Deserve Management and Driver Attention?

According to a 2010 Trucker Survey conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance, falls are the number one cause of worker injuries in the trucking industry. Falls from cargo tank motor vehicles and also be fatal. The National Safety Council reports that falls account for 13% of all accidental deaths, second only to motor vehicles and that most fatal falls happen on the first step down from a high place.

In addition to injuries and fatalities, lawsuit costs are a major concern too. According to OSHA statistics, lawsuits for accidents relating to slips and falls have increased 300% since 1980. These are astronomical statistics costing insurance and other businesses a small fortune.

Weather conditions such as snow, ice, high winds and other adverse conditions present unique atmospheres for injury potential for drivers. Drivers are required to perform certain tasks everyday on top of cargo tank motor vehicles to adhere to regulatory compliance requirements . Some of these task are mandated by federal agencies such as the Department of Transportation and the Department of Homeland Security. Unfortunately, weather and other adverse conditions do not relieve the driver’s responsibilities to conduct these regulatory tasks. Adding to the potential for more severe fall injuries is cargo tanks have a higher likelihood for snow and ice build up compared to tractors and can involve higher heights.

Slips and Falls Training Program Elements

1. Develop and maintain documented training outlines
2. Document and verify training completion
3. Adopt processes to verify that tasks are performed as expected
4. Develop written policies that outline climbing and working on tanker task expectations
5. Provide training based on type of equipment being used and tasks drivers, tank wash workers, maintenance personnel and others are expected to perform
6. Verify worker abilities to perform the tasks as expected
7. Conduct evaluations to verify tasks are being performed as expected on an on-going basis
8. Have management oversight and program review

Slips and Falls Training Performance Issues

1. Have proper footwear that is in good condition and clean
2. Be trained on the equipment and tasks to be performed
3. Inspect the area and equipment prior to climbing or working on rolling stock tank trailers
4. Use 3-Point System when climbing
5. Always face the tank when climbing up or down
6. Don’t carry things while you climb
7. Get a firm grip on rails and hand holds
8. Have proper foot placement
9. Use proper attire to reduce potential for injuries (slip resistant gloves, high visibility clothes when working in yards or around moving motor vehicles and task specific protection as needed based on cargo).


 CLICK HERE to Download the CTRMC Cargo Tank Trailer Climbing Training Guide