Driving into Canada – Watch Your Flatbed Trailers

American truck drivers hauling flatbeds in Canada during October and November should pay close attention to their trailers and cargo control techniques. Canadian officials are preparing to launch their annual falls blitz, with a special emphasis on flatbed trailers. Although the campaign targets shippers and receivers instead of truckers, some drivers could incidentally be caught up in the blitz if they do not secure cargo properly.

The Ontario Ministry of Labor conducts a falls blitz every year in order to improve safety relating to slips, trips, and falls. They look at ladders and other equipment used in mining, construction, healthcare, and industry. This year, the Ontario Trucking Alliance (OTA) has asked the Ministry to pay special attention to flatbed trailers and truck safety.

The OTA and Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) are especially concerned about safety when loading and unloading flatbeds. They say improper cargo control procedures can lead to loads falling on vulnerable drivers. They say that the risk of injury and death among drivers is unnecessarily high.

Also at issue are the many things outside the control of truck drivers. Examples include shipper and receiver ground maintenance, lighting, and tarping policies. For example, the CTA says it is common for shippers to not allow truck drivers to apply tarps in their yards. This forces drivers onto the roads where they have to tarp while worrying about traffic.

Driver Responsibility Still Important

While the trucking industry portion of Canada’s falls blitz focuses mainly on shippers and receivers, truck drivers still have that ever-important responsibility of making sure cargo is properly secured. Regardless of what happens in the shipping yard, a driver is ultimately responsible for his or her cargo once the truck leaves the yard. That does not change regardless of any action shippers and receivers fail to take to improve safety.

As a flatbed driver yourself, you know the importance of sound cargo control practices. You are aware that the federal government requires you to properly secure all cargo prior to departure, and to ensure that said cargo remains secure throughout your journey. You also know there are right and wrong ways to use everything from chains to ratchet straps to tarps.

If you are planning to travel into Canada over the next couple of months, we encourage you to take extra precautions with your flatbed cargo. Once the falls blitz is over, continue to be just as diligent with every load you carry. It only takes one momentary lapse of carelessness to create a dangerous situation.

We Have Just What You Need

As a retailer of cargo control equipment, Mytee Products has everything you need to travel safely. Our inventory begins with basic cargo control supplies like straps and chains. But we do not stop there. We also carry corner and edge protectors, bungee straps, load bars, E-track, and more.

In the tarp department we have everything you need to cover a variety of loads. Coil, lumber, steel, and smoke tarps are just the beginning. We also carry hay tarps for farmers and mesh tarps for construction companies, landscapers, and even homeowners.

Earlier this year, American truckers were subjected to the annual international road check enforcement blitz. Interestingly enough, the 2017 event focused heavily on cargo control pertaining to flatbed loads. Is it a coincidence that the Canadian blitz is also taking a serious look at flatbeds? Maybe, and maybe not. Either way though, do yourself and the industry a favor by being extra cautious with cargo. Give cargo control the attention it deserves and you will have nothing to worry about.

Sources:

Today’s Trucking – https://www.todaystrucking.com/inspectors-should-look-at-flatbed-safety-ota


Cargo Control – Important for Every Trailer and Load

Cargo control is what we stress here at Mytee Products. What began as a small, local company specializing in truck tarps and straps has grown into a retail operation with a national reach. Not only do we still carry truck tarps and straps but we also carry just about every piece of cargo control equipment an American truck driver could possibly need. That includes load bars and e-track. We do what we do because cargo control should be a part of every trailer and every load.

Experienced truck drivers know that cargo control is not just a flatbed issue. Even dry goods vans and reefer trailers cannot be operated safely if the cargo within is not properly secured.

Shifting Cargo Is Dangerous

Police reports say a tractor-trailer hauling 40,000 pounds of liquid on 17 pallets turned on its side in the early morning hours of September 22. Apparently, the driver failed to properly secure the pallets. They shifted as he drove down U.S. 70, causing the trailer to tip on its side. The driver was not injured, but the truck was heavily damaged and the entire load of liquid was lost.

The biggest lesson to be learned here is that shifting cargo is dangerous. Truck drivers are well aware of the dynamics of shifting cargo when it comes to loads on flatbed trailers. They know all about using blocks, chains, straps, and winches to secure things tightly in place. They know about working load limits and how to properly distribute weight across the trailer.

Unfortunately, what is taken for granted with flatbed trailers is often ignored for dry vans and reefer trailers. Yet as the above stated crash demonstrated, shifting cargo can be just as dangerous when goods are enclosed. Cargo has to be kept in place at all times, otherwise disaster is just one shift away from striking.

Cargo Control Experts

One of things we stress here at Mytee Products is our belief that truck drivers should be cargo control experts. Yes, there are engineers who work out working load limits, tensile strength, and the other calculations necessary to properly rate things like chains and straps. But it is U.S truck drivers who apply those chains and straps in a real-world setting. They need to be the experts in how it all works.

Whether a driver is securing pipe to a flatbed trailer or filling a dry goods van with pallets of liquid, a basic understanding of physics comes into play.

The energy stored in cargo as a truck is moving – known as kinetic energy – will force that cargo to continue moving in the same direction unless something prevents it from doing so. Cargo control principles are designed around doing just that.

A truck driver should know that unsecured cargo in a dry goods van is likely to shift as a trailer turns. Kinetic energy forces it. Therefore, load bars should be put in place to prevent dangerous shifts. If there is empty space between cargo and the sidewalls of the trailer, either that space has to be filled or the cargo needs to be secured with straps to prevent it from moving.

It is fortunate that the North Carolina accident did not result in injuries or death. It is equally unfortunate that failing to secure cargo resulted in financial losses for both the trucking company and the shipper. The accident provides all the evidence truck drivers need to understand just how important cargo control is.

Sources:

UPI – https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2017/09/22/Truck-overturns-in-North-Carolina-loses-44000-pounds-of-vodka/3431506101215/


Time to Start Thinking about Mesh Tarp Storage

Mesh and shade tarps are great for creating outdoor gathering spaces made comfortable by protecting them from direct sunlight. Perhaps you found your own tarps invaluable this summer. Well, September has arrived. That means it will not be long before cooler weather as you spend more time indoors. It also means that it is time to start thinking about how you are going to store your mesh tarps for the winter.

High-quality mesh or shade tarps from Mytee Products should give you years of reliable service as long as you take care of it. How you store your tarps plays a role in determining how long they last. So its important to make sure you do it right.

Pre-Storage Cleaning

It is always a good idea to clean tarps before storing them away. Surface dirt can stain if it isn’t cleaned off prior to folding, and any mold, mildew, or algae present when you take a shade tarp down will be encouraged to grow over the winter if you don’t eliminate it. In short, you should clean your mesh tarps before storing.

A mild cleaning solution and a soft brush should do the trick. You can lay a tarp flat on the ground or drape it over a laundry line for cleaning purposes. Make sure it is completely dry before you fold it.

Pre-Storage Mending

Although mending is not absolutely necessary before winter storage, it is a good idea to make any necessary repairs while a tarp is easily accessible. You have your tarps spread on the ground or draped across a laundry line, so now is an appropriate time to make those repairs.

Minor repairs can be made with a commercial repair product available from Mytee Products or your local DIY store. Major repairs, like torn seams for example, may require you to break out the needle and thread. Do some online research if you are not sure how repair the damage you are looking at.

Folding Your Tarps

When you’re finally ready to fold your tarps for storage, spread them on the ground or the garage floor. Get someone else to help you fold from corner to corner in a flat, straight line. The more flat and square you can get your tarps folded, the easier they will be to store. They will also be easier to unfold come spring.

Choosing a Storage Location

Where you store your mesh and shade tarps is perhaps the most critical decision of all. First and foremost, you want to make sure they are not exposed to moisture in any way. Moisture is a big problem in the winter months because it expands and contracts with the temperature changes. Any moisture trapped in a tarp could cause damage should it freeze. Moisture can also promote algae growth during the fall and spring.

If you have a protected interior space – whether it be a garage, barn, basement, etc. – this would be an ideal space for storage. Leaving your tarps outdoors exposes them to animals even if they are under some sort of protection from the weather. Remember that critters can get into small spaces fairly easily.

Lastly, never store mesh tarps in any location where they could be exposed to open flame. Keep them away from flammable liquids as well. Tarp material is treated to be flame retardant, but I can still be damaged by the heat of an open flame if the material gets too close.

When storing your tarps for the winter, remember this one thing: if you take care of them, they will provide you with years of reliable service.


Your Choice of Bungee Straps Matter

Our regular customers know that Mytee Products carries heavy-duty bungee straps made with 100% EPDM rubber. They also know that EPDM bungee straps are ideal for flatbed trucking, where straps are expected to withstand a tremendous amount of punishment day in and day out. In light of that, we want to use this post to point out that your choice of bungee straps really does matter. As a truck driver, it would be a good idea to choose a bungee strap that is appropriate for the kind of work do.

 

There are basically three kinds of bungee straps you can buy:

• Natural rubber
• EPDM rubber
• Nylon wrapped rubber.

The first two options were detailed in a Mytee Products blog post a while back. At the time we excluded the Nylon wrapped rubber. We feel it is time to include that third option now that it is more readily available at DIY stores.

Natural vs. EPDM Rubber

When Charles Goodyear first developed vulcanized rubber in the mid-19th century, it revolutionized the way natural rubber would be used for industrial and manufacturing purposes. His vulcanization process led to the development of rubber car tires along with an extensive list of utilitarian items such as hoses, gaskets, and belts. Natural, vulcanized rubber was critical to the war effort in World War II as well.

As a material for bungee cords, natural rubber is strong and fairly resilient. It holds up well in most kinds of weather with the exception of excessive heat. High temperatures and direct sunlight can cause natural rubber to lose some of its elasticity.

EPDM rubber is a synthetic product that was created to make up for the severe shortage of rubber during World War II. It proved to be a better material for a lot of different uses, and it is the predominant form of rubber used today. Most of the bungee straps truckers use are EPDM rubber.

The strength of the EPDM is that it holds up exceptionally well in hot temperatures and under direct sunlight. But unlike natural rubber, it does not do well in extremely cold temperatures. Cold EPDM is prone to getting brittle and breaking or tearing.

Nylon Wrapped Rubber

Nylon wrapped rubber bungee cords are those cords you see being sold in different colors. Some are red, others are blue, and still others are yellow or green. The most important thing you need to know about these bungee cords is that they are not suitable for the trucking industry. They are intended primarily for light-duty use.

Campers and hikers love nylon wrapped rubber because it is very flexible and easy-to-use. It is great for securing a camping tarp or attaching a sleeping bag to a backpack. However, nylon wrapped rubber is not sufficient for holding down truck tarps at speeds approaching 60 mph.

You should also know that nylon wrapped rubber is not nearly as thick and it has a significantly lower tensile strength. Attempting to secure truck tarps with these kinds of bungee cords is asking for trouble. Do not use them for anything other than light-duty applications not involving cargo control.

We Have Bungee Straps and Rope

The good news for Mytee Products customers is that we have all the EPDM bungee straps and rope you need. You don’t have to go anywhere else to keep your truck well-stocked. You can buy bungee straps in packs of 50, with or without crimped hooks. We also carry rubber rope hooks ideal for drivers who want to construct their own bungee ropes when more length is required.


A Few Fall Reminders for Hay Tarps

It is that time of year again when growers are starting to think about winter hay storage. Every year, there is that nagging question of whether to go with tarps or store excess hay in the barn. That is considering a grower even has a barn to work with. Those who do not are forced to rely on hay tarps or temporary storage structures.

The debate over whether to use tarps or not comes largely from the less gleeful stories we hear every spring about crop loss resulting from tarp failure. The first thing to understand is that no storage solution is perfect. The second thing to note is that much of the effectiveness of hay tarps lies in how they are deployed. With that in mind, below are a few fall reminders for those growers intending to tarp their hay this winter.

1. Pay Attention to How You Stack

One of the biggest problems growers face is snow and ice. When a stack is not constructed properly, it allows certain portions of the hay tarp to lay flat and, as a result, collect precipitation. Get enough snow and ice built up and it could be nearly impossible to remove a tarp when hay is needed in early spring. The best way to avoid this problem is to pay attention to how you stack.

Hay stacking should really be done in a-frame or pyramid shape if you are planning to use tarps. Giving the stack a sharp enough incline will make it easier for precipitation to roll off. You still may have to go out to sweep your stacks after an especially persistent snowfall, but clearing an inclined stack is a lot easier than clearing a flat stack. It is a lot safer too.

2. Check Your Tie Downs

Any experienced tarp user will tell you that the key to avoiding most problems is keeping hay tarps tight and secure. Doing so requires that tie downs be checked on a regular basis. Remember that even the slightest bit of wind underneath a tarp can cause big problems in both the short and long terms. Checking once a week should be sufficient. Tie downs should definitely be checked immediately after storms to assess the extent of wind damage.

3. Utilize PVC Pipe

Another common complaint among hay growers is that the grommets built into their tarps fail in severe weather. We suggest a tarp with webbing loops or a built-in sleeve capable of accommodating PVC pipe. Securing tie-downs with PVC pipe results in a much stronger system than tying down with grommets alone. You can still use the grommets along with bungee straps for a little extra strength.

4. Inspect Tarps during the Fall

Last but not least is the reminder to check all your hay tarps in the fall. Do not wait until you start stacking hay to find out that one or more of your tarps is ripped or torn. Now is the time to address any damage while you’re not under pressure to get that hay cut and stacked.

Minor damage can be repaired with one of our tarp repair kits. Major damage, like torn seams for example, may require a more heavy-duty solution. You can obviously browse our selection of farming supplies should any of your tarps need complete replacement.

Fall is harvest time in North America. In just a few months, the snow will be flying and the temperatures falling. If you plan to store hay this winter, make sure you are fully prepared with everything you need. Mytee Products carries high-quality hay tarps, spiral anchor pins, and temporary storage structures.