15 Tips to Safely Unload a Shipping Container

Unloading a shipping container is an essential process in the transportation life-cycle, which requires meticulous planning and execution. It is also crucial to have the right practices, machinery, or tools. However, people often don’t pay enough attention to the preparation part. Lack of care leads to severe damages and injuries. It is good to plan the unloading process as it impacts on the following:

  • Cost
  • Space availability
  • Labor
  • Service flexibility
  • Downtime
15 Tips to Safely Unload a Shipping Container

Why discard the ‘Traditional Unloading Method’?

The traditional method entails many laborers operating at risk when operating a container, finding bulky and unsecured items. The system unloads containers, including a manual guide of goods. It involves heavy lifting, serious injuries, or other health issues. Many companies solve this problem with the aid of introducing forklifts that bring exact consequences while moving low-volume articles. If this is the case, consider investing in such tools and take measures to unload containers safely.

Let’s find out what measures you need to take to unload your shipping container safely.

  1. Obtain information on the contents of the container first. Based on which you need to arrange for the required unloading equipment. Do not try to do it on your own if you don’t have prior experience handling it. Always get in touch with professionals to avoid causing any injuries to your staff handling the unloading of shipments.
  2. To unload the container, dedicate an exclusive site for your truck. Ideally, this place should be free from other heavy vehicles and away from the crowd. If you don’t have such a place readily available or it costs your extra money, make sure you take up the loading at odd hours or non-operational times. This way, you will avoid accidents and damages.
  3. Once the place or the ground is made ready for unloading of the shipping container, the next step is to secure your staff with appropriate clothing, heavy-duty boots, and gloves for their safety. Keep a strict check on the quality of the material your clothing is made up of, as even slight negligence could cause someone harm.
  4. Try to unload the container in natural or daylight as a nicely lit-up area can maximize the visibility inside the container. If you choose to operate during the night when there is less commotion, provide enough lighting to make the inside of the container visible. Install battery-powered lights if natural lighting is limited.
  5. Use bolts that inhibit an unexpected opening of the doors and a smooth sloping ramp when a loading bay is not available for easy access.
  6. Ensure the container is placed on a leveled surface. If required, install container support legs with the same height settings.
  7. Depending on the goods and weight, different containers require different offloading equipment. Cranes, forklifts, and self-offloading trailers are commonly used to unload a shipping container. However, sometimes additional robust steel supports are also required to maintain balance and avoid tipping off the load.
  8. Containers are often disinfected to keep pests at bay. These chemicals are potentially hazardous for human beings. Hence, leave these containers with the door open for some time before allowing anyone to enter them.
  9. Check whether the container is overfilled or not. If yes, fasten the door with extra straps to minimize any spill. Also, ascertain that the heaviest cargo is at the bottom of the container. This will ensure balance.
  10. Check for broken or loose seals on the container doors. If they are present, strap them properly before tilting the container. Also, do not leave any articles on the path leading to the door.
  11. During the voyage, some items inside a container may change their positions if they are not adequately secured. Hence, while opening the door, always exercise extra caution. Open them at arm’s length and take a few steps back immediately. This will eliminate the possibility of anyone getting hurt.
  12. If the items inside the shipping container are strapped, remove one strap at a time. There may be items that support other articles on the top or behind. In such a case, don’t remove the item without strapping the others securely.
  13. Make use of machinery like conveyor belts or forklifts whenever you can to avoid manual unloading.
  14. Ensure that no one moves around the truck while the unloading is in progress.

Lastly, it is essential to exercise standard safety practices with these heavy-duty shipping containers. Training the staff and making them aware of the hazards will reduce any chances of injury while offloading and unloading shipping containers.

Here’s peek into the safety tools checklist

  • Heavy-duty boots and gloves
  • Battery-powered lights
  • Sloping ramp
  • Bolts
  • Cranes
  • Forklifts/Conveyor belts
  • Self-offloading trailers
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