More from: cargo control

6 Important Things to Know about Tire Chains

Do you routinely drive in regions requiring snow chains during the winter? If so, you know all about what it means to chain up before heading into bad weather. If you are new to trucking or winter driving, tire chains may be foreign to you. One thing is for sure in either case: chains can cause a lot of problems if you don’t know how to use them.

Mytee Products carries tire chains for both 22.5-inch in 24.5-inch tire chains. We invite you to purchase your chains through us, along with all your cargo control supplies including tarps, bungee straps, ratchet straps, and edge protectors.

In the interests of advancing public safety, we have compiled a list of six important things to know about tire chains. Know and understand these things, whether you are a veteran or a rookie.

1. Keep to a Safe Speed

Tire chains are only intended to withstand a certain amount of punishment. Drivers should never exceed speeds of 30 mph when chained. Going any faster could cause chains to break while in motion. This could be dangerous for driver and vehicle alike.

2. Avoid Bare Pavement

Tire chains do not hold up well against bare pavement either. So while there may be some instances when it’s necessary to drive short distances on bare pavement, the practice should be avoided as much as possible. As soon as a driver gets through the area of snow-covered roads, he or she should find a place to pull off and remove the chains.

3. Chains Slip on Pavement

Something else to note about chains is they tend to slip on bare pavement. If a driver is braking on bare pavement while still chained up, he/she has to be more gentle in the process. It is very easy to lock up the wheels and slide on chains. On the other end, hitting the gas too aggressively could cause the drive wheels to spin on bare pavement. Drivers should accelerate slowly.

4. Routine Inspections Are Necessary

Truckers will naturally tighten their chains when first deploying them. However, it is generally recommended that chains be inspected and re-tightened at regular intervals. Chains will loosen as the miles roll by, making them subject to breakage.

5. Chained Tighteners Can Cause Problems

Chain tightening devices have a tendency to pull chains off-center if they are not used the right way. A driver who is not intimately familiar with how to use such a device should avoid doing so. There are other ways to effectively tighten chains.

6. State Regulations

Nearly every state in the union has some sort of regulations in place pertaining to tire chains. Truck drivers should make themselves familiar with those regulations in any states where they plan to work during the winter months. Running afoul of the regulations could result in a citation.

Along those same lines, there are a few key regions in the U.S. were chains are mandatory during the winter. In some of these regions truckers will find chains at highway department chain banks. A word to the wise though: drivers should not rely solely on chain banks to meet their needs. If no chains are available when a driver reaches the start of a mandatory chain area, he or she will have to wait until a set is available.

Tire chains are part of winter driving for truck drivers. Hopefully you have had some experience chaining up your truck. If not, you will probably have to learn eventually. Just remember that chaining up is not the end of the world. You will get pretty good at it with enough practice.


Basic Principles of Hay Tarp Safety

While conducting a brief review of past blog posts, it occurred to us that it would be a good idea to share safety tips involving hay tarps. We talk a lot about trucker safety for cargo control, but apparently the topic of hay tarp safety hasn’t been addressed. This post aims to change that.

It is important to start an ongoing discussion centered around using hay tarps safely, beginning with this post covering a few basic principles. We may produce future posts that get into more advanced principles for hay stacking, tarping, and moisture control.

If you are looking for a way to protect your hay without using a barn or storage shed, Mytee Products has several options to choose from. We carry a full line of hay tarps along with temporary storage structures made with galvanized steel pipe and heavy-duty PE fabric.

And now, on to the basic principles of hay tarp safety.

Principle #1: Limit the Size of Your Stacks

We never cease explaining to truckers how dangerous it is to walk on the top of a load to secure tarps. In fact, we recommend avoiding the practice if at all possible. The same applies to stacks of hay. Every new layer you add to a stack also adds height. If your stacks are too high, you may find you have to climb on top in order to properly secure tarps. Remember: with height comes increased danger in the event of a fall.

It is best to limit your stacks to 10 or 12 feet, at the most. If you do have to climb on top, make sure you use an extension ladder long enough to elevate you above the top of the stack as you climb on. Attempting to get on top of a stack using a stepladder is just not wise.

Principle #2: Don’t Tarp Under Windy Conditions

Avoid attempting to deploy tarps on windy days. Hay growers, like truck drivers, sustain a good number of their tarp-related injuries as a result of wind catching tarps. If you absolutely must deploy a tarp on a windy day, make sure you stand up wind of your haystack. Then, if the wind does catch the tarp, it will blow away from you instead of against you.

Principle #3: Get Help When Tarping

Hey tarps are a lot heavier than you might think. Therefore, do yourself a favor and get help when you are ready to cover your hay. There is no need to be a hero by trying to tarp yourself. Being a hero could result in a hernia, a back injury, or something worse.

Principle #4: Wear Protective Gear

You will most likely be using straps or bungee cords to secure your tarps. As such, you should wear head and eye protection. You never know when something could snap back and strike you with enough force to knock you on your backside. The last thing you need is a head or eye injury.

Principle #5: Check Grommets before Deploying

With the exception of damaged seams, the weakest link on any hay tarp is its grommets. You can go a long way toward remaining safe by inspecting every grommet prior to deployment. If a grommet appears even slightly damaged or loose, do not use it. Either get the tarp fixed or work around the grommet in question.

At Mytee Products, we firmly believe in the safety-first mindset. We encourage our hay tarp customers to use the utmost care when covering hay stacks this fall. Your hay can be replaced; you cannot be.


What Can Happen When You Don’t Use Corner and Edge Protectors

Some of the products Mytee Products sells are universal among flatbed truck drivers. Tarps are a great example. There are other products that some drivers would rather work without. Corner and edge protectors would be among them. For some reason, there are flatbed drivers who do not want to invest in these rather inexpensive devices that could mean the difference between getting a load to its destination safely and having to explain to the shipper why damage occurred in transit.

You will find that we consistently recommend corner and edge protectors to every flatbed truck who asks. We have a variety of corner and edge protector products in assorted sizes and materials. Most importantly, all of them are comparatively inexpensive. When you understand what these little devices can save you from, investing in them is well worth every penny.

Not convinced? Then consider what can happen when you do not use corner and edge protectors:

You Rip Your Tarps

Even the most innocuous looking cargo can be deadly to your tarps. All it takes is one semi-sharp edge and a good breeze to put a hole in a brand-new tarp you just invested hundreds of dollars in. On the other hand, you could have invested in 4-inch corner protectors for as little as $0.99 each.

The fact is that corner and edge protectors save tarps. Even if you were not interested in protecting your cargo – and that is something we do not recommend – you should at least be concerned about your tarps. You invested in them; why would you not protect them?

You Damage Your Cargo

Obviously, the other side of the coin is damaging your cargo. Corner and edge protectors prevent different pieces of cargo from coming into direct contact with each other. They prevent tarps and straps from rubbing on cargo surfaces as well. For especially sensitive cargo, contact with any other surface can be harmful.

If you ever wondered why some shippers and receivers mandate the use of edge and corner protectors, this is the reason. A lot of damage can be done over just a few hundred miles at 65 mph – damage that could otherwise be prevented simply by using plastic, leather, or metal edge protectors.

You Find Yourself Improvising

In relation to the previous point, you may find yourself improvising if you don’t have corner and edge protectors that a shipper is demanding. Of course, you’re not going to turn down a load if you can improvise. But what do you have to work with?

You might find yourself ripping apart a couple of cardboard boxes in a pinch. We’ve known drivers who have used pieces of PVC pipe, ripped up T-shirts, foam coffee cups, spare work gloves, sneakers, and a whole host of other stand-ins. Such resourcefulness is okay in rare emergency situations, but you’ll never make it as a career trucker if you’re always having to keep shippers happy by improvising on corner and edge protectors.

Shippers and receivers love drivers who are prepared for any kind of load. They want to see rugged edge and corner protectors designed specifically for the job at hand. They do not want to see drivers improvising just because they don’t want to invest in the right equipment.

As a flatbed trucker, it is your responsibility to protect cargo from start to finish. It is smart to protect your own investment in tarps and straps. So do yourself and your customers a favor and purchase a collection of corner and edge protectors. We have never known a driver to regret doing so.


Inventorying Cargo Control for Insurance Purposes

Every truck driver is familiar with the principle of inventorying cargo control supplies in advance of rougher winter weather. You need to know what you have so you know what to buy to be ready for the coming wind, snow, and sleet of winter. Yet the stormy summer of 2017 has been a reminder that there is another important reason to inventory your cargo control equipment and supplies: insurance claims.

Whether you are an owner-operator or work for a carrier, cargo control equipment and supplies are considered part of the business to which they belong. As such, any losses relating to things like tarps and toolboxes are subject to insurance claims.

The problem is that you cannot claim what you do not know you have. Furthermore, you can only make claims based on events and subsequent damage as outlined in your policy. You may have pieces in your inventory that are already suffering from minor wear or damage; they may not be eligible for an insurance claim should that wear or damage lead to a catastrophic failure during a storm.

Know Exactly What You Have

The one side of the insurance inventory coin dictates that you need to know exactly what you have on board at any given time. So, create a running inventory of everything you own. We are talking tarps, ratchet straps, ratchets and binders, corner and edge protectors, bungee straps, blocks, chains, and everything else you use for cargo control.

Where tarps are concerned, it is important to distinguish exactly what kinds of tarps you have. You may have a variety that includes steel, lumber, and smoke tarps. You may have a larger number of machinery tarps than anything else; that would be noted in your inventory.

Binders are another item that you may possess in different variations. Be sure to detail every binder in your box according to type. And while you’re at it, make sure to inventory your hand tools as well. They can be claimed if they are lost in an accident or storm.

Know the Condition of Each Item

Taking inventory for the purpose of determining the condition of your cargo control supplies is important for a couple of reasons. First is the issue explained earlier in this post: you may not be able to claim a piece of equipment that was already showing signs of wear or damage prior to the incident in question. In fact, if the failure of such a piece of equipment contributed to a loss of cargo, that cargo may not be fully covered either.

The second reason condition is important has to do with the kind of insurance coverage you have. Your policy might offer to pay the replacement value of lost cargo control supplies, or it may pay the actual value. Replacement value is the amount of money it would take to replace an item at its current retail price. Actual value is the is real value of an item based on its age, condition, etc.

Actual value dictates that things like tarps and ratchet straps are worth less over time. That is not necessarily good or bad, but it is further motivation to make sure all your cargo control supplies are in good working condition.

While you are conducting an inventory, you may discover that you are short on one or two items. We have you covered here at Mytee Products. You will find everything you need for safe and efficient cargo control in our online store.


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