Safety Tips Construction Driving safety

Prevent dump truck tip-overs

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Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation Flickr

Because of their high center of gravity, dump trucks can easily become unstable and tip over.

“Many factors contribute to dump truck tip-overs depending on the worksite and the type of truck used,” the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation explains. “However, the main hazard is related to the stability of the end-dump unit when the box is in the raised position. When the center of gravity of the box and load is not between the unit’s frame rails, there is a risk of tip-over.”

Some common factors that can cause tip-overs are operating on uneven or soft ground or a slope, materials being loaded unevenly, or the load doesn’t flow during dumping. “Sometimes material does not move out of the top portion of the box or does not flow out of one side of the top portion as expected,” TDI says. “The uneven distribution of the load can decrease the truck’s stability and result in a tip-over.”

Help prevent tip-overs with these tips from TDI:

  • Use the right type of dump truck for the job. “For example, use belly-dump semitrailers instead of end-dump semitrailers for spreading aggregate for road construction. Use straight trucks or pup trailers instead of semitrailers to haul to rough graded or fill areas where surfaces are uneven or loosely compacted.”
  • Stay within regulated weight limits.
  • Lighten the load when hauling poor-flowing materials.
  • Check to see that the vehicle is on even ground before dumping. Avoid soft, uneven surfaces.
  • Make sure the tailgate is unlocked and the vehicle is on a reasonably level surface before dumping.
  • Never dump near people or other vehicles.
  • Create a maintenance and inspection program. Preventive maintenance and regular inspections play an important role in eliminating vehicle tip-overs.
  • Establish and enforce safety procedures and policies.

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