Handballing – How To Safely Break Down a Load

Unloading goods such as construction aggregate, wall panels, and bathroom fittings can be dangerous, and must always be undertaken with appropriate training. Whether it is the driver’s responsibility to break down a load or if the consignment simply needs delivering to the site, there are several safety precautions that should be implemented to help mitigate the risk of injury and prevent damage to the goods.

At HGMS, our team have a duty of care to protect our drivers against workplace injury by providing training and information regarding the safe handling of goods. To help protect yourself and others, we have put together the below safety advice.

What is handballing?

Handballing describes a service where an HGV driver delivers goods to a premises, and proceeds to unload the goods from the trailer.

Preparing to unload

If it is the driver’s responsibility to unload the goods, it is important to ensure that you have enough space to do so in an area that is free from pedestrians and other equipment or vehicles. Warehouses can be busy places, so it is important to check for obstructions and other staff members before unloading your goods to avoid injury.

During the journey to your destination, it is possible that your goods have moved around, and could potentially topple over when moved. To avoid this, adequate strapping and a consistent loading process should be adopted to ensure that you are able to unload your goods safely.

Finally, drivers should evaluate the load and decide if its weight or shape means that it needs to be unloaded by two people instead of alone. If you feel that unloading goods by yourself could cause injury, avoid moving any goods until you have support.

Lifting Safely

Manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries. To avoid injuring yourself or compromising the safety of those around you, you should always take into account the below for any lifting activity:

  • individual capability
  • the nature of the load
  • environmental conditions
  • training
  • work organisation

When manually lifting goods, following good technique to avoid strain on your back is the best way to avoid injury. By reducing the amount of reaching or stooping by avoiding lifting goods which are floor level or above shoulder height, you can lift items more safely.

When possible, drivers should consider how to minimise carrying distances, and adjust storage areas to minimise the need to carry out movement which could cause injury.

Overall, it is important to know your limits and avoid trying to lift or handle more than can be easily managed. Although it can be tempting to try and carry as much as possible from the trailer for a quicker turnaround time, this can lead to serious injuries which could affect your ability to work.

If you are unsure about the best way to move goods, get in touch with your employer or training provider for further support.

About HGMS

HGMS Specialist Driver Resourcing is a recruitment and employment agency specialising in the HGV sector. Providing a managed service to industry leading building distribution companies supplying UK wide temporary and permanent HGV drivers, HGMS works closely with their clients on the recruitment and placement of drivers. If you are an HGV driver looking for work, contact HGMS today by completing our contact form.