June 15, 2022
Share this article:
Lumber, insulation, stone, steel, drywall, bricks, bags of cement, and roofing items are all materials that you could transport as a truck driver moving construction supplies. You may also work transporting construction equipment like excavators, backhoes, bulldozers, pavers, cranes, and other heavy machinery.
As a Class A CDL holder, you might drive a dump truck if you’re working in construction. While that isn’t quite the same as construction material transportation or equipment, it’s an important function on a job site that can only be done by truckers with a CDL.
Before you load any construction materials on your truck, it’s important to make sure you have an end-to-end plan for the transportation. Create a comprehensive logistics plan before heading out to pick up a load of construction materials. And make sure to have a plan to cover the most-likely contingencies to avoid having to figure things out on the fly if something goes wrong.
Certain materials travel best on certain kinds of vehicles. You wouldn’t move cement on a flatbed, and you wouldn’t haul lumber in a tanker truck. Flatbeds are best for things like lumber and drywall. Cement mixer trucks are best for cement. You might also need a dry van, super-b, or another type of vehicle for items that require specialized transport.
It’s important to understand the hauling capacity of your trucks in terms of size as well as weight. Overloading a truck can increase the chances of it breaking down, and it can also make it more dangerous for you and other motorists.
Federal law prohibits a gross vehicle weight exceeding 80,000 pounds on the interstate, or more than 20,000 pounds on a single axle. Be sure to take note of the maximum shipping capacity for your trucks and make sure not to exceed that limit.
Construction supplies can be heavy and unwieldy. And while flatbed trucks are ideal for transporting many different construction materials, they need to be properly secured to prevent your supplies from flying all over the place if you brake too fast or if the wind kicks up. Check your state’s requirements, but most regulate that any heavy-duty load (over 10,000 pounds) must have a minimum of four tie-down points.
Take an extra few minutes at the loading dock to double-check all your tie-downs. You don’t want loose construction materials to cause an accident on the highway.
If you’re doing more than just driving when hauling construction materials, it’s important to work safely even when you’re not driving. This means using lift-assist tools like cranes, forklifts, or even just a lifting partner when moving heavy materials.
It’s also critical to use proper form when physically lifting items to avoid back pain or other injuries. If you work for a trucking company, your employer should provide back braces and other necessary safety equipment, but if you’re an owner-operator, you’ll need to supply your own.
Some materials are inherently dangerous to haul because they’re flammable, combustible or can cause internal damage when inhaled are common on construction sites. Asbestos, lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), chlorofluorocarbons, and radioactive sources can all be found on and around construction sites of any age. Your employer must provide personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves if you will be near or handling hazardous materials. And if you’re hauling these materials, you’ll need to have a HazMat endorsement on your CDL.
Sometimes even mundane items like wood beams or bricks can be dangerous to transport for a construction project when you’re moving large quantities of them at once. It’s important to obey all laws and regulations to keep yourself and other drivers safe on the road.