In 2020, the U.S. mining industry saw fatal accidents claim the lives of 29 workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Vehicle-related incidents cause a large portion of these accidents year after year and highlight the need for proper mining safety equipment, such as wheel chocks.
Wheel chocks are a wedge of sturdy material, such as polyurethane or rubber, placed against a vehicle’s wheels to prevent accidental movement. Wheel chocks are especially important in mining environments with haulers, milling machines and conveyors constantly operating in different directions, putting workers at risk daily.
The Importance of Understanding Wheel Chock Procedures
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 to proper chocking that may not be obvious to every user. 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 variables exist and 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. In addition, wheel chocks require regular visual inspection for cracking, chipping or other deterioration signaling the need for replacement; however, they should require little or no maintenance.
Variables to Consider Before Using Wheel Chocks
Here are the combinations of conditions must be considered for safe, proper chocking procedures:
- Wheel Size: Smaller tire diameters require smaller chocks, while larger ones require larger chocks.
- Gross Vehicle Operating 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 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 chock’s 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 Surface: 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 terrains, choose a chock with a cleated bottom. For severely wet or muddy terrains, multiple chocks may be necessary to ensure safe chocking.
How to Properly Position Wheel Chocks
The second key to proper chocking is the actual positioning of the chocks themselves. When chocking a vehicle, always follow these simple rules to ensure maximum efficiency and safety.
- 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.
Advantages of Checkers Safety™ Wheel Chocks
- One of the largest manufacturers of wheel chocks in the world, with a chock for virtually every type of tire-based vehicle
- The most popular wheel chocks in the highly-demanding mining industry
- Polyurethane wheel chocks are resistant to extreme weather conditions, tears, abrasions, oils and solvents
- Polyurethane chocks are extremely lightweight compared to excessive steel and rubber counterparts
- Long-lasting product life span results in cost savings
- Engineered to reduce damage to your vehicle’s tires
- High visibility safety colors available on most wheel chocks
- Wheel chocks satisfy MSHA, OSHA, SAE, NFPA, and DOT compliance standards
- Recessed carrying handles included on most modelsMounting brackets available for most models
Checkers Safety offers a wide range of wheel chocks that comply with the safety requirements of a variety of industries and ensure a safe working environment while your vehicles are at rest. Offered in a variety of styles, our wheel chocks provide a safe chocking solution for any type of vehicle.
To view our full line of high-quality chocking solutions, click here.