The purpose of the Tarp-Mate system is to safely assist a truck driver/operator in tarping their loads on a flatbed or step-deck trailer. Currently there are no products available on the market Worldwide that may be permanently attached to the truck/trailer to assist an operator in the tarping process and allow the operator to remain safely on the ground without ever having to climb onto the load. The problems, limitations, and disadvantages of existing solutions are that they are very large systems permanently located at very few pick up facilities. These tarping stations require trucks to remain in long lines just to get to the tarping station and when the truck finally gets there the tarping process is very time consuming having to use catwalks and fall protection. Because of the number of accidents and lost time recorded by OSHA and other safety companies in this industry, some (very few) facilities have provided a dedicated OSHA approved tarping station OR they will not allow tarping on their property altogether due to the liability. The statistics show that many facilities don't consider driver safety and as OSHA and other reports show, many accidents are still being reported. Keep in mind that OSHA requires fall protection when working at any height above 4’. (OSHA 1910.66 Appx C) Heavy fines are possible from OSHA for drivers/operators and there companies for tarping above 4’ off the ground without being properly tied off.
Companies with multiple trucks (fleets) and owner-operators see workers compensation insurance rates escalate as these accidents continue to accrue industry wide. This system could be installed on each truck/trailer and would be used for assisting drivers to safely tarp their load without ever having to leave the ground. Accidents from falling or being thrown off of loads could be completely eliminated. Insurance rates would drop drastically. Many drivers at some time in their driving career for one reason or another become physically unable to climb up onto a load and tarp. Some drivers may be unable to perform the task because of a physical disability. I met a US Military Veteran who had been seriously injured by a road side IED making the task of tarping nearly impossible. Because of his heroic ambition and “Can Do Attitude”, he struggles through the process. This really touched me as I too am a USMC Veteran and have a strong desire to help our Brother and Sister Veterans and Wounded Warriors. Not being able to tarp can (and does) limit the type loads a driver is able to haul. Most shippers want their loads tarped for obvious reasons. It does not make since to limit your options on available loads because of the inability to tarp. The Tarp-Mate will save time and money, and will reduce driver fatigue allowing a driver to safely continue on their route hundreds of miles after tarping in exhausting, hazardous and inclement weather conditions. With the ELD law now being enforced a driver can spend less time tarping safely using a Tarp-Mate and more hours on the road taking better advantage of their duty day. The best part is Returning Home Safely.