How to load a truck

Updated November 21, 2016

Freight is loaded onto trucks around the world every day. The men and women loading these trucks usually know the best way to load this freight. There are different kinds of freight, but only a few types of trailers used for transport. Safety is the most important thing to consider while loading a truck. Being familiar with the different types of trailers and how to load them is crucial to safely loading a truck.

Back the truck and trailer to the loading dock. Chock the tires of the trailer and set the brakes on the vehicle. Open the doors of the van trailer and drop the dock loading plate in place. The dock loading plate is what bridges the gap between the dock and the bed of the trailer, allowing the forklift to load the trailer.

Drive the forklift to the front of the trailer and set down a pallet so it's touching the front of the trailer. Set another pallet next to the first, side by side. The trailer is full when the pallets are loaded to the trailer's back doors.

Set inflatable bags or chocks behind the last pallets to keep the load from shifting during transit. Remove the loading plate from the bed of the trailer and close the doors. Lock the door handles in place and put a tamper seal in the lock handle padlock hole.

Weigh the truck and to see if any of its axles are over legal load weights.

Load freight as tightly as possible. Snug the freight in the middle of the trailer. If any freight is side by side, place it so the items touch.

Inspect the sides of the trailer while loading the freight for any overhanging material. Keep the freight within the crash barriers of the trailer to avoid having to buy oversized load permits.

Measure the height of the load with a measuring tape, keeping it under 14 feet, 6 inches (depends on the state). Measure the width of the load, keeping it under 102 inches. These heights and widths are the legal load measurements for load sizes not requiring oversized banners and permits, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Things You'll Need

  • Forklift
  • Measuring tape
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