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Heavy Equipment Transport - The Ultimate GuideTips, Tricks, and Things You Should Know.
Preparing Agriculture Equipment for Transport
Loading & Securing Construction Equipment Safely
All equipment attachments, work tools, and other accessory equipment must be lowered and secured before transportation. Retract booms and buckets and secure them in place. Secure equipment components (lock all doors, covers, tailgates, and articulation points). Also, make sure the machine transmission is immobilized and brakes are locked. For additional protection to your equipment, you may choose to cover it with a tarp or wrap it with shrink wrap. This protects the equipment from dirt, debris, and moisture on the roadways. For equipment with a smokestack, be sure to cover it so debris cannot enter. Use ample & appropriate securing devices (chains, binders, straps, & anchors). Choose appropriate attachment points on the machine and trailer.
Once the load is secured, check everything a second time. It can be helpful to have a safety check system in place where multiple people check the load, instead of relying on a single person.
To make sure the driver has a clear view of what’s going on around them. The placement of equipment should also allow free movement of the driver and should not obstruct them from exiting the vehicle or accessing any necessary vehicle components or accessories. This ensures the driver can safely transport the machinery and keeps your company compliant with DOT regulations.
Check out a good securement video from Dirt Perfect. It covers tips. tricks, do's & don'ts for equipment greater than 10,001 lbs.
Transporting Farm Equipment SafelyDelivering Your Machine Safe, Sound, & On Time
Heavy loads can be very dangerous in rush hour traffic in big cities. Take time before your trip and map out a route (and time) that avoids areas of construction or heavy congestion on the roadways--you'll thank yourself later! Try to avoid toll roads, low-hanging bridges, or any other interruptions or delays that could slow transportation. The best routes have the least amount of bridges, turns, starts, stops, and difficult terrain.
You also need to be sure that the roads along your route can handle the weight, height, and width of the load. It is very dangerous to assume that all roads can handle the weight of a heavy load. If the area is unfamiliar, then we strongly suggest you drive the route in a smaller vehicle first to identify areas of concern.
Complying with all permits and regulations is especially important if your load qualifies as oversized or overwidth. Most larger agriculture equipment fits this designation which can carry extra liability. Check the laws and regulations for every state where the load will be transported. These laws change as you cross state borders, so don’t assume that the regulations at your destination are the same as those at the departure point. Additionally, Federal regulations apply for interstate commercial loads that weigh more than 10,000 pounds. In some situations, it may make more financial sense to disassemble the machine into smaller sections so that it can travel on multiple trailers as a legal load to avoid oversize and overwidth requirements.
In some situations, it is necessary to acquire permits before oversized loads can travel on state roads or highways. Also, check to see if a pilot car is required for your load.
Heavy load securement requires check-ins and inspections while on the road, especially when traveling long distances. Industry safety standards recommend the following as inspection benchmarks while heavy cargo is en route:
- Once during the first 50 miles of transport.
- Once every 150 miles or once every 3 hours — whichever comes first for long-distance hauls.
- At every change of duty or change of driver station. Have the new driver run a full inspection, then document that inspection in a transport log.
Delivering & Safely Unloading Farm EquipmentFinish Strong & Safe
Before the transportation vehicle even arrives, take the time to review and clear the designated unloading area in the receiving yard. Just as you pay attention to this during the loading phase, wet and muddy ramps and uneven unloading ground make this part of the operation much harder than necessary. Line the ramps up with the rear of the trailer bed as methodically as possible, taking time to match joints and eliminate any gaps between the trailer and the ramp. Once the machinery begins backing up, there will be no time to reposition.
With everything in place, conduct a final condition survey. Look over the equipment’s tires and hitches to ensure their health. Review roles with personnel, appointing a spotter and an equipment operator just like during the loading process and before you begin breaking down the chain tie points. You’ll also want to do a brief survey on the condition of the tie-downs themselves before their release. It is highly unsafe to undo straps and chains if the load has shifted, even minutely. If this is the case after performing a walk-through, you and the operators will have to draw up a custom unloading plan.