There are all kinds of issues to think about when accepting delivery of your Butler building materials. Is everything on the manifest also on the truck? Is it being delivered to the correct location? Are the Shadowall wall panels the correct color? Are the gutters and downspouts on this tuck or the other truck? There are many other questions as well. But safely unloading the trailers or trucks should be at the top of your list of priorities.

It does not matter if it is a load of steel beams, MR-24 or Butlerib II roof panels or some hardware crates, unloading trailers has many hazards. Most of us have seen or heard of items falling off a trailer during the unloading process. Taking a little time to follow a few simple precautions can save a life, injury or damage to a much-needed part.

At the end of a commercial flight, you will hear a message about using caution when opening overhead bins, since items may have shifted during flight. The same holds true for a load traveling down a highway at 70 mph. So a load should always be exampled for stability prior to putting oneself in harm’s way. Visually check to see that the stacks are in vertical alignment and the wood dunnage is still in place.

Having the correct equipment is essential. The lifting equipment should be of the appropriate capacity for the material being lifted and one of the correct design for site conditions. Operators of the lifting equipment should be trained and familiar with its operation.

Prior to unloading, a general plan should be developed on how to best remove the layers, where the parts will be placed and the best route of travel. Chose a level spot to unload and have a route, which is free of dips and drops that could cause a load to shift. The area where materials will be relocated to should be level and stable to help avoid other issues.

Before removing anything, watch out for those helpers, even ones you did not know you had. Truck drivers are usually in a rush to be unloaded and, sometimes, will try to “help” with the unloading process. The lift operator should ensure that no one is near the trailer when they are removing materials. Otherwise, a simple mistake could seriously injure someone. It is best to let the driver know that you want and expect him to remain in the cab of the truck during the unloading process. This will be one less thing the lift operator has to worry about.

Taking a couple minutes to think about what could go wrong and making a plan on how to avoid those hazards can end up saving time and help to ensure that a trailer is unloaded without injury or damage.

Excerpts from Building Success Spring 2011 (a Butler Manufacturing Company publication)