In 2016, the U.S. mining industry saw fatal accidents claim the lives of 20 workers, according to this MSHA report. These tragedies highlight the need for mining safety equipment, such as wheel chocks. Wheel chocks are effective safety devices when used properly. However, wheel chocking procedures are not always as straightforward as they may seem. There are several key aspects of proper chocking that may not be obvious to every user. We’ve outlined the most important things to take note of while using our wheel chocks, to ensure maximum safety for both workers and equipment. It is the responsibility of the end user to make the ﬁnal determination about proper chocking of a vehicle under the circumstances presented. You cannot simply test a pair of wheel chocks with a speciﬁc vehicle on a speciﬁed grade and broadly assume that the wheel chocks will hold the same truck every time. Countless combinations of conditions exist and this must be considered when selecting the most appropriate wheel chock for each application. Thorough testing must be completed at each location to ensure that speciﬁc wheel chocks will meet their speciﬁc chocking requirements.
Here are the combinations of conditions must be considered for safe, proper chocking procedures:
- Tire size
- Smaller tires require smaller chocks, while larger tires require larger chocks.
- Gross vehicle weight
- Heavier vehicles require larger chocks than lighter vehicles.
- Level or grade of the ground surface
- Chocks need to be positioned in different ways depending on if the ground is level or not. Ensuring that the chocking configuration is correct based on surface grade is paramount for proper chocking.
- Radial Tires vs. Bias-Ply Tires
- Radial tires by design deflect more than bias-ply tires. While this flexibility allows the vehicle to move more smoothly, it also allows the tire to wrap around the wheel chock, which reduces the chocks effectiveness.
- Tire pressure variance due to environment
- It is important to monitor tire pressure, especially in harsh environments. Improperly inflated tires can lead to chocking failures.
- Condition of the ground
- Whether the ground is firm, soft, wet, dry, icy, or frozen is a key determination in the type of chock to use. For frozen or icy terrain, choose a chock with a cleated bottom. For severely wet or muddy terrain, multiple chocks may be necessary to ensure safe chocking.
- Always ensure the chock is centered and squared with the tire.
- Position the chock snuggly against the tire tread.
- Always use wheel chocks in pairs.
- Wheel chocks must be positioned downhill and below the vehicle’s center of gravity.
- On a downhill grade, position the chocks in front of the front wheels.
- On an uphill grade, position the chocks behind the rear wheels.
- On a level grade, position the chocks on the front and back of a single wheel.
In addition to the following proper chocking procedures, it is important to consider the material of the chock. For more information on different chock materials, click here.
Monster Motion Safety offers a wide range of wheel chocks, ranging from small to large models. Whether you drive a pickup truck or a haul truck, proper chocking is important and safety cannot be a compromise. To view our full line of high-quality chocking solutions, click here.