Tips for Avoiding Injury with a Lever Load Binder

Lever Load Binder

Safety is a necessity especially in a high-risk industry such as trucking. According to a 2012 study made by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, professional truck drivers are more likely to experience a non-fatal on-the-job injury compared to an average worker. The same study cites the following injuries as common within the trucking industry:

  • Fractures
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Soreness
  • Cuts
  • Bruising

The usual causes of these injuries have been mainly due to the following situations:

  • Drivers who overexert
  • Drivers hit with an object
  • Crashing

Unfortunately, using lever load binders could also cause drivers to be at risk for injuries. Fortunately, there are safety precautions that can be done to keep all parties safe.

Related article: How To Safely Use Chain Binders To Securely Tie Down Heavy Cargo

 

What are lever load binders?

Lever load binders are used as leverage to help tighten and secure chain and cargo onto a trailer. These equipment have long been used in the trucking industry. The reason why they are one of the common causes of injury is explained in the following scenario:

  • Level load binders have the tendency to develop high recoverable energy levels and large chain tensions. This tension and energy level makes the standard chain lever load unable to safely maintain these.
  • Due to the inherent inability of the handle slack of the standard load binder to be fine-tuned, the end result is either a too tight or too loose chain that is impossible to secure using the binder handle.
  • Essentially, the force required to effectively use a lever load binder is 170 pounds. Such a force is sufficient to cause strains and sprains to the body.  Usually, such a case motivates drivers to use a cheater bar

 

What are cheater bars?

Due to the necessity to place more strength when using lever binders, drivers find it easier to utilize a cheater bar when tightening and releasing the handle. However, cheater bars only increase one’s injury risk.

If anytime a driver has lost his or her grip, the possibility of the lever and bar to snap and hit the driver increases. There is also a risk for the bar to fly off and hit nearby property, people or passer-by. Plus, if cheater bars exceed its workload limit, the chain or strap could break. Essentially, using cheater bars bring hazard and are not at all recommended.

 

Things You Can Do to Avoid Injury

  • As an alternative to binders, many have preferred to use ratchet binders. Many people in the trucking industry consider these as a safer choice due to the decreased energy it takes to engage with it. 
  • Besides a ratchet binder’s ability to gradually release, it also requires a force of a mere 10 pounds.
  • Another alternative is to use a branded binder called QuikBinder Plus. It is claimed as a safer and stronger alternative to a traditional lever binder or standard ratchet binder.
  • But if you are to continually use a lever binder, a safe thing to do is to regularly inspect it for wear and tear. If there are any visible cracks or bending on the binder, it is best to not use it at all.
  • When using a lever binder, remember not to operate it with more than one person present
  • If there is an individual standing on the load, make sure that the lever binder will not be used or operated
  • The best time to use or operate the lever binder is when you are on the secure footing on the ground
  • Do not use a cheater bar to release or tighten a cargo load
  • When tightening, always do so in a downward motion and make sure it is done by hand 
  • If in case you lose your grip, always be aware of the possible line of fire
  • Ensure that your hands are always protected by wearing gloves. Doing so also allows you to keep your grip
  • As an added safety measure, any cables or safety chains you use must meet the standards set by the Society of Automotive Engineers International. Doing so avoids the vehicle and trailer from accidentally separating if in case a disconnect occurs
  • The safety chains must not be twisted just to minimize their length
  • Tiedowns must be placed in a way where it neither moves forward, side to side, or backward
  • As much as possible, it is best to use ratchet load binders as tiedown chains
  • It is highly advised to utilize edge protection in places where straps or chains come in contact with the edges of equipment as cutting or abrasion could occur
  • It is best to not use any devices to attach chain links just to extend a chain’s length or as part of a tiedown assembly. Any devices added must be chain-manufacturer-approved. They should also maintain the rating and integrity of the tiedown assembly.

 

Related article: How To Safely Use Chain Binders To Securely Tie Down Heavy Cargo

 

 

Conclusion

Not using the proper binders and chains could potentially cause injury. As much as possible, do not put yourself or your company in a situation where they or you might be liable for an accident or injury. Despite the popularity of using lever load binders, do not assume they are automatically safe. Always err on the side of caution. Always take note of weak links in your equipment even on your backup safety chains and devices. 

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