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How to Operate a Terminal Tractor

Terminal tractors allow the efficient moving of semi-trailers around truck yards. While these vehicles are indispensable in warehouses and depots, improper operation can lead to serious accidents and injuries.

That’s why operators of terminal tractors and business owners renting these vehicles must be aware of the proper safety procedures. The following recommended practices can greatly minimize risk on worksites and keep all personnel protected.

Pre-Operation Safety Process

Truck yards can be hazardous places when employees lack the proper training. All terminal tractor operators are encouraged to perform the following safety checks prior to getting started:

  • Inspect Tractor Components – Pre-operation inspections should cover numerous areas, such as fuel levels, tire condition, electrical systems, mirror position, fluids, security latches, and other components.
  • Verify Safety System Functionality – Operators must also verify that safety systems, including handholds, boom control, and steering systems, are all fully functional before entering the yard truck.
  • Ensure Proper Visibility – Check and clean windows and mirrors to ensure good visibility from inside the vehicle. Visibility is key for safely maneuvering around truck yards with ease.

To ensure the above processes are followed consistently, fleet owners are encouraged to work with their teams to develop safety checklists. These checklists provide clear instructions to operators and other staff, while also creating a record of safety measures taken.

Procedures When Operating Terminal Tractors

Like driving any vehicle, operators of yard trucks must remain alert and aware at all times. Work sites often have a lot of activity, and a moment of inattention can easily result in a collision. Accordingly, drivers are encouraged to check and re-check their mirrors for the presence of other vehicles and work staff before moving the terminal tractor.

Staff must also be outfitted with the proper safety gear, like helmets and goggles, any time they’re operating a terminal tractor. Seatbelts are mandatory, even when the vehicle is only traveling a short distance. In the event of a crash, seatbelts can mean the difference between minor and major injuries.

Procedures Before Exiting a Terminal Tractor

The yard truck must be stopped in a safe area that’s away from the flow of traffic. Before exiting, operators should check all controls to ensure they’re in the proper off position. Once the vehicle is completely powered down, the operator is free to exit. However, they must verify that the area around them is clear by using their mirrors and windows to check for nearby vehicles.

Practices to Avoid

Speeding not only increases the risk of an accident at a truck yard, it can also increase the severity of any collisions that occur. As a result, operators must drive at a safe rate of speed at all times, regardless of how busy a truck yard is on a given day. When working outside, speed should be decreased even further during inclement weather.

Neglecting essential maintenance is another practice to avoid. Regular maintenance catches small issues and repairs them before a major fault occurs.

Big Truck Rental can help you find the right vehicle for the needs of your business. We offer flexible and affordable short- and long-term refuse truck rental options, including rent-to-purchase plans. Reach out today to see how we can help.

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