There are many jobs that involve loading, occupational and unoccupational, but since I only know how to load a truck on a occupational level I am going to describe it from this view, though you will be able to use these techniques loading most any truck. Loading may seem like a boring subject....well, it is, but it's good to know in case you are ever caught in a situation in which a distressed UPS truck driver needs your help loading a large parcel truck fast.
Whether your helping Fred and Ethel move or if you are just making a living, loading a truck is a technique you can master. You are probably saying, "Are you kidding me? It can't be that hard." Yes it can. If you do not load a truck right possesions can be tossed back and forth while the truck is hopping down the road. Things that you or your customer own, can be crushed or mangled all because you didn't load right.
Being Prepared and Tools
Depending on what kind of truck you are loading, you may use different tools to get the job done. The first thing you should have though is a set of rollers or a platform of some sort for large objects or so the packages will be able to come to you easier without having to run back and forth. Another option for smaller jobs is having at least 2 people to help you, so one can be stationary inside the truck and the other two can form a line to move packages to you for stacking.
Another tool you will probably need is some straps or some kind of retainer to keep the packages from crashing about into the empty spaces. If you have bungee cords, load straps or retaining bars this can solve that problem. Bungee cords can be found almost anywhere. In fact, every time I clean out my garage I find at least 13 or more. They are good for strapping up fastening items in trucks without rooves. Load straps are harder to come by though. A load strap usually has three straps running vertically with locking utensils on the end of each strap to attach or hook to the walls of the truck and three straps running horizontally in a net form. Most commercial shippers use load straps. Retaining bars are usually a last resort because the don't provide much protection against falling packages. A retaining bar is basically a piece of metal that can be stretched out from one wall of the truck to another and fastened tight to both walls.
Stacking Techniques for Boxes
When stacking a trailer with a roof and a fair amount of space such as a moving or parcel truck, these techniques will be more handy.
- It is first beneficial for you, as the loader, to load the first package correctly. The first package (or cornerstone package) should be about 12" long and about 20" wide. Keep in mind these are just recommended dimensions; the package can vary in heigth and length.
- Next make sure that you make a row of packages all the way to the next wall. Stack from left to right. Most of the packages in the row should be about the same height and length as the cornerstone package as to maintain levelness of the row being stacked ontop of the first row. Try and line up the packages so their edges make a straight line so that you have a flat wall facing you.
- Heavier packages should be used to form the base of the wall and lighter packages should be used to build the wall up. Avoid putting bigger boxes on smaller ones. This will make a vertical column and your first wall won't be able to support your second wall.
- Also, when a packages is so heavy that it compromises the integrity of the a wall that is mostly done, just set it to the side and create a new wall with it.
- When stacking boxes try to make natural T's, with one box on the higher row overlapping two boxes on the bottom row.
- You can use small packages to fill in gaps, so you have a nice tight space.
- Most of the time, there is more then one way to place a package. If you are at the end of your row and you see some space, try and wedge a box so as to make the whole row sit tightly in place. You may even have to do some shoving.
- When possible (with trucks with rooves) try and stack up to the to the roof. You can use irregular packages to fill in the top st of the time.(see below section)
Stacking Techniques for Irregular Packages
Irregular packages are basically anything other than a box or it is a really screwed up or longer-then-usual box. The first fundamental principle of loading irregular packages is to not get frustrated. Sometimes no matter how many freakin times you try to fit something in a space it just won't go. Maybe this section will help you to overcome this obstacle and tackle the monster that is "the irregular box".
- As stated above some irregular packages can be used as "fillers" for those empty spaces at the top of the wall or even as cornerstone packages.
- If a package is unusually long, one can usually lay it flat against the left wall with the long side running against the wall.
- Since bags are too unstable to put packages on, they can be placed on top of the wall. If you have a whole lotta bags try and create half a wall for one row then create a whole wall leaving enough of a gap between the wall and the ceiling to throw bags into the void.
- Heavy packages with a strange shape to them should be placed as close to the door of the truck as possible so as to give easy access to them.
- Beds and other long objects should be treated as an object in paragraph 2.
Finishing the Job
To make sure that your job has been finished properly make sure that all your packages are properly secured in place with either a load strap or other retaining device.
Always make sure that when you lift you are lifting properly; with your legs not your back. And stretch before every job.
I'm sure that if you do these things you wil be a pro loader in no time.
Node what you know.
Info taken from UPS and FedEx handbooks, as well as comments from different moving company employees.