Moving Blankets Protect Flatbed Cargo, Tarps & Straps

Tim Sanders, USCC senior account managerMoving blankets are not just vital for professionals and do-it-yourself movers to avoid scuffed furniture. They’re also popular with flatbed haulers to cushion cargo and extend the life of tarps and straps.

Without a covering, items on flatbed trailers are completely exposed to the elements and road debris. Utilizing a weather-resistant tarp and tie downs helps ensure shipments arrive at their destination unscathed.

But before you roll out a tarp, consider wrapping a quilted blanket around any freight that is fragile, painted, sensitive, or not packaged (crated or cartoned).

“The main goal when securing cargo is making sure it doesn’t shift or move, but accomplishing this can be potentially damaging to cargo and securement equipment,” says Tim Sanders, senior account manager in sales at US Cargo Control. “When used properly, moving blankets will save you time and money by making sure your load and your equipment remain in place and in good condition.”

Blankets drape across the sides and top of the most irregularly shaped items, and can be anchored firmly in position with big rubber bands, ratchet straps, or plastic stretch wrap. The soft layer acts as a shock absorber from knocks and bumps associated with loading, road vibration or heavy braking in transit, and possible impact when unloading. It also fills any gap between adjacent goods that may shift and rub against each other during the journey. Not only that, extra padding preserves the condition of the cargo when tensioning load securement straps or chain.

In addition, lay a blanket directly over sharp edges on machinery, metal parts, etc. This eliminates direct contact with straps and tarps, which protects your investment by preventing snags, cuts, and abrasions. Check out our selection of corner protectors to further alleviate premature equipment wear, as well as reduce the risk of harm to whatever you’re carrying.

While frayed webbing will likely need replaced, damaged tarps aren’t necessarily a total loss. On-the-spot tarp repair kits are available with black, blue, or red vinyl squares to easily patch and seal minor rips, holes, tears, and wear marks.

We include four of our Econo Saver moving blankets with every value-priced Flatbed Deluxe Starter Kit, which contains essential supplies for flatbed drivers. The lightweight yet durable Econo Saver features a tough polyester fabric shell and cotton batting inside for limited-use jobs.

If you’re looking for a higher level of protection, we offer a range of material quality, color, style, and size options:

Keep in mind that moving blankets are not waterproof, so the entire surface of a load must be tarped to shield against rain and snow.

As always, our expert sales team is happy to assist with questions about any of our products. They’re here to get you what you want, when you need it. Call us at 866-444-9990.

FAQs: US Cargo Control addresses some of our recent most-asked-questions

We gathered some of the most-frequently searched questions on our site and made a quick reference guide.  This is not a complete guide, but a starting point. Many more in-depth answers can be accessed by the links contained in this post, or by searching specific state regulations. We hope this will answer some of your questions and be a great starting point for what you need to know.

What are the requirements for wheel chock usage?

Wheel chock requirements vary by regulator. So how are you impacted?

OSHA Regulations

OSHA wants everyone to use wheel chocks. However, they do not have jurisdiction when it comes to regulating commercial motor vehicles, like semis or buses. That’s up to the FMCSA. OSHA does have complete jurisdiction over all intrastate motor vehicles, those used in the workplace and on non-public roads. OSHA will enforce wheel chock requirements on all trucks and trailers not classified as commercial motor vehicles. In a nutshell, if you’re not a commercial motor vehicle, you need to chock.

FMCSA Regulations

The FMCSA has their own rules when it comes to using wheel chocks. Their law says air-braked power units made on or before March of 1975 are adequate to keep a commercial motor vehicle from moving during the loading and unloading process. The FMCSA does require wheel chocks for all agricultural commodity trailers, pulpwood trailers and heavy haulers. Basically, if you are a commercial motor vehicle you probably do not need to chock, but should double check to make sure your vehicle isn’t an exception.

Individual Requirements

Carriers, receivers and distributors also have policies regarding safety, and it’s important to be aware of those policies. If a company requires wheel chocks, the policy will be enforced. Federal safety standards are considered the minimum threshold.

Wheel chocks are not required for independent CMV drivers, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea to have a backup plan should your brakes malfunction. Accidents do happen. Wheel chocks simply ensure that you are looking out for the safety of yourself and those around you. Safety officials recommend drivers always set the brakes, chock the wheels and or activate the locking mechanism included on the dock.

What are the federal mud flap requirements?

Surprisingly, there are no federal regulations on mud flaps for trucks. However, there are certain states that do have requirements, that when enforced, can hurt your CSA score and cause you to be ticketed if you are not in line with them.

To play it safe and cover any state-to-state requirements, the simplest common denominator will require you to have a mud flap or splashguard on the rear of the truck that covers the full width of the tire. Length requirements vary, so to be safe, make sure your mud flaps don’t hang more than six inches from the ground.

If you need specific information for a state’s rule regarding mud flap laws, check the DOT website for that certain state.

What is the strongest grade of steel chain?

Grade 120 chain has the highest strength in the industry, is known as a high performance chain, and has a blue finish. The unique square links create increased contact between the bearing surfaces of the links, reducing pressure on the chain. This increases working load limits 50% higher than grade 80 chain, and 20% higher than grade 100 chain. Grade 120 is approved for overhead lifting. However, when used as a tie down chain, Grade 120 is not safe for overhead lifting due to the type of hooks used.

E-track vs. L-track: What’s the difference?

Both E-track and L-track are track systems with fittings for tie-down straps. The biggest difference is their size and shape. E-track is wider and flatter than L-track, and secures on the outside edge of the track. L-track (also called airline track or logistic track) has a more compact appearance and attachment points are inside the track.

L-track’s narrow width is ideal for installing in smaller spaces, like the bed of a pickup. Although newer than E-track, this style is gaining in popularity.

E-track offers more options in straps and fittings, as well as color and metal choices. E-track is a good choice for use in an enclosed trailer or on the floor of an open trailer because of its lower profile.

Are moving pads machine washable?

Our category of “Best” moving blankets are machine washable. Their cotton/polyester material and woven binding are designed for repeated use. They can be washed in a machine and hung to dry.

Our “Better” moving blankets are made with a combination of woven and non-woven polyester fibers forming a mid-weight blanket that is durable and offers excellent protection for repeated use. These blankets are not recommended for machine washing, but they can be spot cleaned.

 When do you need an oversize load sign/flags?

A load is considered oversize if it exceeds the standard legal size or weight limits for a road or highway. There are also “load per axle” limits for the weight of a load. Oversize loads include pre-built homes, construction machinery, industrial equipment, and wind turbine propellers.

  • Wide load or oversize load banner signs, safety flags and wide load banner usage is an FMCSA requirement for any commercial motor vehicle handling an oversize or wide load. Size and weight parameters vary by state, so it is important to plan ahead and determine the rules for states through which you will be transporting oversize loads.
  • Many states require vehicles transporting wide or oversize loads to obtain (purchase) permits, which are valid for a limited amount of days. These permits may also specify certain routes that these vehicles are allowed to use.

If you’ve got questions that aren’t answered here, we’d love to hear them in the Comments section below.