Home > All Mercertown Blog Posts, Safety > YOU CANNOT FLY


The observation deck of the Empire State Building is more than a thousand feet above street level. I think if there was ever a time that I could learn to fly, it would be if I fell from it. I don’t know if I could figure it out, but I do know that I would be flapping my arms the whole way down! Maybe in five or six hundred feet it might just work.

I also know that none of us can figure out how to fly in thirteen feet, six inches (top of a load), or five feet (trailer deck height), or four feet (rear tractor deck) or even two or three feet (tractor steps). Unfortunately, we get a lot of drivers hurt each year trying to do just that. The results of these low-flying escapades include concussions, broken arms, shoulders, legs, feet and ribs, lacerations and death. The health as well as the financial consequences to a driver can be disastrous.

How do they happen? Most of the time the root cause can be traced to one of three things: Inattention, being in a hurry, and/or improper equipment. We’ve had drivers on top of loads forget how close they were to the edge and just step off. Some drivers do not notice loose or slippery items on loads until it is too late. Folks in too big of a hurry do silly things like jumping out of the cab, or off of the trailer deck or tractor rear deck. People in a hurry forget the basic rule of three point contact when climbing or descending from loads or vehicles. Improper equipment accidents are often the result of wearing flip-flops instead of appropriate footwear when securing and tarping loads. Improper equipment accidents are also caused by a driver’s failure to use a ladder on tall loads, or the failure to use harnesses or platforms at customer facilities.

Protecting yourself from these kinds of injuries is not rocket science. It is common sense. It is attention to detail. It is taking your time and doing things right. You make your own luck in this business. Or not. Remember, you cannot fly. Be safe.

  1. Al clark
    July 20, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Ahmen to that. It just hurts.

  2. Jim Hudson
    July 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    You hit it right on
    the head with just three words, “attention to detail”. As a young private my squad leader drilled that into my head to the point that I thought I would lose my mind if I heard it just once more. Now I bless that man often.

    Not being what one would call an exceptionally bright person (as often reminded by aforementioned squad leader) I rely on the wisdom of others. Some of this wisdom is as follows:

    Sometimes we get hurt by doing something stupid, more often we get hurt because the dummy next us did something stupid. Don’t hang out with dummies.
    You can’t stuff 10 pounds of junk in a 5 pound bag. Go get a bigger bag.

    If 3 straps are good 4 is better.

    To calculate how cool you really are, take how cool you think you are and subtract how cool others think you are then divide by 2. Sobering.

    Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups

    My favorite ’cause it hits close to home, “If you’re gonna be dumb you’d better get

    Sorry for rambling, I’m waiting for a load to the house and apparently have way too much time on my hands.

  3. Chuck Shaffer
    July 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Jim I agree with you and you made me think back to my days as a young enlisted man. There are MANY lessons I learned the have guided me thruogh life. Attention to detail is only one of those. It makes me slow down and check that things are correct BEFORE I get to the point of no return and I or someone else is hurt.
    As to if 3 straps work put me down to add more! I have seen loads that I’ve wondered how they made it from point A to point B due to (in my thinking) not having enough securement.

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