How to Safely Operate a Tilt Tray Vehicle
Safety is of utmost priority when operating a tilt tray vehicle. You have to be skilled and knowledgeable in using loading and unloading vehicles to prevent accidents inside the workplace. This includes skid mounted equipment, self-propelled equipment, and more. This guide will take you through the best practices on how to safely operate these machines.
Inspecting equipment before use
Before the equipment is used, it’s important to conduct a thorough inspection. Learning to inspect equipment should be a prerequisite for an operator who’s tasked to use a tilt tray. While the equipment is being inspected, regular maintenance checks should also be conducted by an experienced and qualified technician. Lifting attachments, slings, and other integral components should be of good condition and are working properly prior to operating the tilt tray.
Aside from identifying visual faults, the operator should be able to do the following:
- Make sure the correct slings and attachments are used in the vehicle.
- Safely use each piece of attachment equipment found on the vehicle.
- Use the safest anchor points on the load.
- Discard any damaged equipment to avoid being accidentally used by other operators.
Hooks and chains
Check to see if the hook has a safety catch and ensure the mouth isn’t opened out. Inspect for any damages such as bends or cracks. If in doubt, have it evaluated by a qualified technician. Chains should maintain their oval shape and be free of any bends or twists. Check for signs of wear and tear on the bearing surface. Using worn-out chains can be dangerous and if the links are showing signs of elongation, have it replaced immediately.
Chain grabs and shorteners
The chain grab should match the size of the chain used. As always, inspect for damages and take note of any signs of wear. The load limit of the chain shortener should be down-rated appropriately prior to using these attachments.
Before using web belts, inspect them for deteriorated stitching or cuts to the webbing. If any are spotted, refer to a qualified technician and have it replaced.
Winch and winch ropes
Winch attachments require regular inspection as they are crucial for operating a tilt tray. If they become loose or there’s plenty of visible damage, dispose of immediately and replace with a new one. Also, make sure to check the winch ropes and winch hook attachment aren’t damaged or worn out.
Load attachment equipment
Choosing the attachment equipment
It’s crucial to select the correct attachment equipment to ensure the load limit of an item doesn’t exceed the force of the winch. Pay close attention to the winch ropes, slings, hooks, and fittings before operating the tilt tray. One way to limit the maximum force exerted by the winch is by adjusting the hydraulic system (which is conducted by a qualified technician). The force exerted by the winch should always be under the working load limit of any attachment equipment because:
- It can be difficult for the operator to determine how much force is being applied on the attachment equipment through visual input only.
- If there are obstructions, the force exerted by the winch can suddenly increase and exceed the load limit of the attachment before the equipment can be turned off.
- The weakest spot between the attachment and the winch drum can fail, thus causing the load to fail as well.
Providing attachment equipment that can withstand the pull of a hydraulic winch might not be a good idea, especially when the loads hover at around 15 tonnes. We recommend limiting the pull of the winch according to the specific amount required for the heaviest load.
Draw bars for sea containers
Loading and unloading a sea container in a controlled manner requires the use of a draw bar. An alternative to chain slings, this solid coupling prevents misuse of chains and other attachments. Draw bars are ideal for when slings aren’t suitable because they require an excessive angle.
When a snatch block is used in conjunction with a winch rope, the winch pull can be almost doubled. The winch rope wraps around the pulley and hook while being attached to a fixed point to increase the winch pull.
Ejector devices for sea containers
Hydraulic rams enable operators to fit ejector devices to unload a sea container efficiently. Most tilt tray vehicles can be retrofitted with ejector devices to make the process of unloading much easier. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions before using an ejector device.
Method of operation
The ideal way to load up a tilt tray is to position the back of the vehicle close to the load, with just enough space for the tray to slide in front of it. With the use of a sling, the winch rope is attached and the hydraulic controls enable the operator to pull the load onto the vehicle. This requires proper skill and training on the operator’s part because any faults can pose a risk to not only the load itself, but to the safety of the workers as well.
Operators should be able to spot potential issues and stop operations if there is danger of any of the equipment failing. They should be able to make adjustments based on the weather conditions, unusual loads, and other environmental factors. These tips will help you operate a tilt tray vehicle safely to minimise the risk of accidents inside the workplace.