Safety checklist when transporting food during warm weather
As the summer approaches, commercial drivers who transport perishable food should be reminded of their company- and/or shipper-mandated safety precautions. A little vigilance may prevent a rejected load at the receiver. Consider the following suggested practices.
Tranport Perishable Food - Pickup
- ❑ Know the correct shipping temperature for the product.
- ❑ Find out if the reefer unit should be in stop/start or continuous mode.
- ❑ Perform a pretrip of the reefer unit, including the following components:
- Levels (oil, coolant, and fuel), and
- Signs of leakage
- Electrical connections
- Chute or duct condition
- Compartment door seals
- ❑ Test the reefer unit by making sure:
- It starts and stays running, and
- The thermometer works.
- ❑ Before loading:
- Precool the trailer, and
- Get the box down to temperature.
- ❑ Minimize loading time, unless backed up to a cold storage dock.
- ❑ For proper air flow, use:
- Spacers on the sidewalls and at the ends of the trailer, and
- Pallets on the floor.
- ❑ Close trailer doors immediately after pulling away from the dock.
Tranport Perishable Food - En route
- ❑ Inspect the trailer’s exterior for damage or signs of tampering.
- ❑ Check for signs of leakage (fluids) or other problems with the reefer unit.
- ❑ Monitor the temperature function of the refrigeration unit:
- After each stop, or
- At least once every three hours.
- ❑ Check the reefer unit’s fuel level.
- ❑ Keep in-transit time to a minimum to reduce opportunity for spoilage.
- ❑ Record box temperatures at specific intervals either manually or through the temperature log on the unit.
Tranport Perishable Food - Delivery
- ❑ Check and document overall condition of the product:
- ❑ Record the temperature readings on shipping papers:
- Pulp or core temperature (i.e., inside of product), and
- Box or trailer temperature.
- ❑ Move product from loading docks into storage immediately.
Staged equipment (if managed by motor carrier)
- ❑ Clean trailer interior regularly.
- ❑ Keep the box or trailer free of debris and dirt.
- ❑ Remove residues from previous cargo.
- ❑ Wash and sanitize:
- Load-securing devices; and
- Loading equipment, e.g., hand trucks, forklifts.
- ❑ Make sure cleaning and sanitizing solutions do not create a contaminant
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