In Part I of our installment, Personal Safety: From Cab to Cargo, we took a look at what you need to do to ensure the safety of you, your equipment, and your cargo, whether it be at the shipper or on the road.
This week, in Part II, we will address proper safety measures that cover the moment you arrive at the receiver. It’s important to remember that your safety and security can be at risk – and must be ensured – at every step in the process. There should be no room for negligence. So let’s start where we left off: At the receiver.
Just as vigilant as you were at the shipper, practice the same vigilance once you get to the receiving dock. Upon first arrival, you will likely be asked for identification and either a bill of lading or set of shipping papers.
As you begin the unloading process, you and the receiver will go through the following steps together:
- Match the load-related numbers on the bill of lading or shipping papers.
- Do a visual inspection of the seal(s) and match the numbers with whatever is on the corresponding documentation.
- Break the seal(s).
- Unload the cargo.
- Ensure there is a signature on the bill of lading or shipping papers.
As the unloading process carries on, make sure you are closely supervising it. The last thing you want to do is assume this is a time to relax. If you notice any discrepancies in the process, make sure to alert your fleet manager.
Now you may be thinking you are done, and there is nothing more to worry about. Actually, one of the most important factors of all is up next: your personal security.
When we are talking about personal security, we mean from beginning to end. Whether you are just waiting at a rest stop or waiting on the receiver, your personal health and security should be paramount.
While safeguarding your equipment and cargo is important, it is equally important that you protect yourself from personal attack of theft of personal property.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure your personal safety:
- Be aware of vehicles behind you that may be following;
- Be suspicious of people inquiring about your cargo or its destination;
- Never share information regarding your cargo or its route;
- Do not leave items of value in plain site in the cab;
- Lock the vehicle when it is stopped;
- Always be cognizant of what is going on around you;
- Never carry large amounts of cash;
- Be alert when using an ATM;
- Inspect the vehicle and your seals and locks at the beginning and end of each rest period.
When it comes to stopping, always make sure you are parking at a reputable truck stop or high traffic area. Park in a well-lit area and, when possible, park your trailer backed into a wall, fence, or other obstruction that blocks the doors.
When you are stopped at truck stops, hotels, restaurants, or any other facility that requires you to be in another location from your vehicle, always try to stay in an area that affords you a clear view of truck and cargo.
Avoid stopping in dark or deserted areas while you wait to make your deliveries. If there are other trucks around, try to park close to them. After all, there’s safety in numbers.
Finally, when you are on the road, view anyone who is asking for help as suspicious. A frequent hijacking ploy is to try to get a driver to slow down or stop. If someone does try to rob you, don’t be a hero. Call the police.
Communication and Planning
The last safety considerations are communication with home base and trip planning. First, a well-planned trip can be its own kind of security. The best route will get you to the destination without needing to stop.
Never take a load home or to an unsecured area. Also, be wary of asking for directions on a CB. You never know who you may get or where they may try to direct you.
As you make your way through the route, stay in contact with your carrier over a satellite or cellular phone system. Always keep your conversation private because you never know who is listening.