January 23, 2019
A work truck body with dumping capability, whether it’s a dump body, platform, landscaper or something else with a lifting apparatus, can be a life saver. However, the many moving parts and heavy weight of dumping operations make these dangerous tools if not operated properly. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when working with dump bodies.
For safety, focus first on the body itself. Any moving parts such as hoists and subframe pivot points should be inspected and lubricated on a regular schedule.
Due to the great deal of pressure generated with hydraulics, the hydraulic pump and lines should also be maintained and inspected regularly according to the system’s user manual to ensure safe operation.
From your dump load to the ground that you’re dumping on, it’s important that you stay balanced. When loading, you should always ensure proper load distribution. If your load is too far off center, it can create unsafe vehicle driving dynamics or, if the bed is too far front-weighted, make operation of the dump impossible.
You should never operate the dump body on ground that’s too unlevel. Even if your gut tells you it’ll work or “you’ve dumped on way worse,” it’s very dangerous practice to dump on unlevel ground.
While you never anticipate your dump bodies’ hydraulic system failing, it’s something you should always assume can happen. By doing this, you’ll focus on keeping yourself clear from being under the dump body, hoist and subframe while it’s in use. If you have to be under the body or subframe, most bodies have integrated props to use for added safety. Many dump bodies even feature remotes to help you keep a safe operating distance.
Make sure you are also well versed on the operation of drop-sides, metering chutes, toe-saver brackets and other heavy features of your body and how to avoid the dangers they can pose if improperly used.
If you’re working with a team, make sure all other members of your crew understand safe operation of the body, proper positioning during use and any hand signals you might use to communicate with your crew while operating. It’s always best practice to keep crew members in line-of-sight when dumping on the jobsite.
Overloading your dump body can cause a few different problems. First, it’s possible that you’re exceeding your vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Secondly, overloading your body can affect the driving dynamics and dump body operation if overloaded.
There’s a lot that goes into the safe operation of your dump body. These are just a few of the 30,000-foot basics that, if kept in mind, should help keep you, your equipment and your crew a bit safer on the job.