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Reefer Truck Safety Tips

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How to Keep Your Refrigerated Truck Clean and Safe

Summertime means juicy fruit, cold ice cream, and refreshing lemonade. We need reefer trucks to deliver it all. Refrigerated trucks, or “reefer trucks” help deliver fresh produce and other perishable freight to all parts of the country.

If you’re hauling reefer freight, it’s important to maintain your trailer so you deliver undamaged and unspoiled goods. Hauling refrigerated cargo can be dangerous because if the trailer’s temperature gets too high or dips too low, your load could be ruined or make people sick. With these tips you can help keep your load safe, so everyone can enjoy the tastes of summer.

Wash out your trailer: If you’re hauling meat, blood can spread across the trailer floor and possibly contaminate your next load. To avoid this, be sure to wash out your trailer after each load. Some warehouses will have a hose you can use.

Check the temperature: Ask the shipper what temperature you should keep the load at. Being off even one degree can spoil the freight. Bacteria can grow if the temperature gets too high, so be sure to watch the trailer temperature before, during and after loading. Because a reefer unit can only keep the temperature, not lower it, refrigerated cargo should always be loaded onto a trailer that has been pre-cooled to the temperature the shipper wants it. Pre-cooling prevents extra heat from getting into the cargo and raising its temperature.

Fuel up: It’s a good idea to arrive at the shipper with a full fuel tank (including reefer fuel). Some shippers might not let you haul a load with less than ¾ of a tank. Because most cooling units run off a diesel generator, losing power due to low fuel could damage the load.

Take the pulp temperature: Don’t just rely on the temperature gauge inside the trailer. Instead use a pulp temperature thermometer to record the temperature of the goods when they’re being loaded and record it on the bill of lading (BOL). Pulp the air temperature often to make sure it hasn’t changed and pulp the load when it arrives at the shipper.

Clean carefully: Don’t use a leaf blower to clean out your reefer unit because nails or shards of wood from a load’s packaging can get blown onto the ground and hurt someone.

Be aware of ethylene gas: While refrigeration can slow decay of refrigerated cargo, it can’t stop ethylene gas from damaging it. Green vegetables and flowers are sensitive to ethylene gas produced by fruits, so pay attention what produce can and cannot be on the same truck.

We hope these tips help you keep a cool and clean reefer trailer this summer and beyond. Thanks to Higginbotham for the tips.

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