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Dangers of Unloading Utility Poles from Rail-Cars

Transporting utility poles is relatively simple compared to how they are transferred to and from haulers. Whether they are steel, concrete, or wood poles, loading and unloading them can be a dangerous undertaking.

What are the risks associated with transporting utility poles? How can you reduce the dangers of unloading utility poles from rail cars?

This article will answer these questions so you can keep your team safe and your project on track for completion.

The Primary Dangers of Unloading Utility Poles

It should go without saying that utility poles are big. The average pole can be approximately 40 feet long. Some may even reach 120 feet in length. Depending on their length and composition, they can each weigh just over 1 ton.

The tremendous sizes of utility poles increase the dangers of loading, transporting, and unloading. Compounding this huge hazard are the people charged with doing the physical transfer.

Trains are relatively safe modes of delivering poles to rail yards. However, getting the poles off the rail cars and onto haulers can prove challenging. Some teams use cranes or forklifts to complete the transfer. They have to know what they are doing. They should have experience using their equipment as well as unloading overlength freight. An untrained operator can place everyone in the area at risk of being seriously harmed. They should be highly capable and able to deftly handle any unforeseen circumstances.

Unloading utility poles onto haulers is only one step of the process. Riggers must hook up the load, maneuver along the flatbed, and securely wrap ropes around the poles. Inexperienced riggers might not secure the poles the way they should. If utility poles slide while they are transported, everyone on the road is at risk of a collision, injury, and death. Trucks could become unbalanced and tip over. Utility poles could fall off the flatbeds and into the path of traffic.

Tips to Reduce the Dangers of Unloading Utility Poles

Promote safety

Project managers who know the threats involved with unloading utility poles from rail cars and haulers can spread safety awareness to their team and mitigate hazards. Following safety procedures is vital in reducing the chances of an incident.

Hire experienced drivers, operators, and riggers

Ideally, only people who have previously unloaded utility poles from rail-cars without incident should be tasked with the job.

Maintain unloading equipment

Keeping your cranes, forklifts, and other equipment in optimal working condition is crucial when keeping your work site safe. You can have the most proficient operator using a crane, but faulty equipment can fail when you need it the most. Routine maintenance can make all the difference.

Hire a hauling company that loads, delivers, and unloads

Outsourcing your rail-car unloading can free your project from many dangers. Expert transloading hauling companies typically use grapples that are attached to their trucks. The driver can use the grapples to pick up and move utility poles. No one except the driver needs to be near the unloading area. Your team can remain at a safe distance and out of harm’s way. The hauling company is responsible for safety, not you.

Blackwood Resources Can Unload Your Risk

Every job carries risk. You can make sure your team follows every safety precaution. You can hire the best experts. You can make sure all of your equipment is in the best shape. You can not, however, eliminate all of the dangers of unloading utility poles from rail-cars and haulers. Accidents happen. You can reduce the likelihood of a devastating event by partnering with a company that has the expertise and equipment to get your poles off rail-cars and to your job site.

Blackwood Resources is your transloading hauling solution to decrease risk. We are a trusted partner of the United States utility industry for many reasons.

Our safe drivers

We recognize the perils of utility pole hauling. Therefore, we hire drivers with superior records of safety and proficiency. Our drivers perform unloading operations and all our other services with your team’s welfare in mind.


Our exemplary trucks

Another reason the utility industry trusts us is that we use specialized trucks that have connected cranes for loading and unloading. Our drivers can load and unload poles easier than a team that has to use a separate crane or forklift. One person can deliver your poles and other utility cargo with minimal hassle.

Our expanding resources

Our experience never stops growing. We use what we have learned every day to give project managers like you unequaled service. We also keep an eye on emerging technologies that could help us perform our job better. We recently acquired a new property that we can haul poles out of that has an attached rail spur. This allows us to get rail cars of poles at the yard and unload from there. From rail cars to material yards, we can safely and quickly move your overlength freight.


Unload your risk now. Contact us today.

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