Before construction equipment reaches the port for shipping on a vessel, it must first be transported to the port by a flatbed. However, that means the heavy machinery must be properly loaded onto the flatbed to prevent any slipping. This is a major safety issue that all people who ship heavy machinery should be aware of.
A 2006 study from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows how deadly and destructive loading or unloading machinery can be. According to the study, an average of 9 workers were killed annually while loading construction equipment onto a flatbed or when unloading the equipment. Most of these tragic incidents occurred during the loading stages rather than the unloading stages. In 40% of these incidents, bulldozers were involved. That is the highest amount of loading equipment accidents. The second highest, 16%, involved front-end loaders. The casualties involved machinery operators, truck drivers and administrative workers.
What is most alarming is the nature of these incidents. 75% of the deaths were caused by machinery being overturned. There were many reasons why the machinery overturned on the flatbed. In many cases, the ground where the flatbed was parked was not level. The chains used to hold some equipment broke off easily. The ramps used to move the machinery were not large enough. The vehicles may have been unclean. Some of the workers involved might have lacked experience.
While the workers and employers must be accountable, shippers should worry about any legal consequences or damages to their machinery. Concerned shippers should work with a freight forwarder who uses the most experienced machinery loaders in the industry.