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Catastrophe Calculator: Trailer Collapse

Catastrophe Calculator: Trailer Collapse

A back of the napkin look at the costs that add up when a trailer collapses in the loading dock.

As leaders in trailer collapse prevention, we help our customers avoid the catastrophe – and potential tragedy – that a trailer collapse brings. But for those who don’t employ any of our trailer stands or trailer supports in your docks, consider a forklift, on-loading cargo, up near the nose of a 53’ trailer. As the forklift is placing the cargo, the trailer’s landing gear is stressed a little too far… and it gives. The trailer rolls to the heavy side, and the forklift, driver, cargo, and trailer all go a-tumble.

The answer to what that costs an organization depends on numerous variables, but here are a few napkin scribbles that take a stab at what it can all costs.

New trailer                                                 $45,000

Lost Cargo                                                  $20,000 (what number makes sense for your business?)

Damaged Loading Dock                        $2,500 – $20,000

Dock Closure/Downtime                       $64,000
(48 hrs)    

Worker injury                                           $30,000 – $150,000

Worker fatality                                         Up to $1.5 Million


It’s easy to see how costs can add up. Of course, these numbers are just estimates, and they don’t even consider, rental of equipment to remove damaged trailer and contents, forklift repair or replacement, dock clean up, clean-up of toxic elements (if any), OSHA fines… and more.

Worker safety is always the top priority, but you can’t ignore the business cost of any workplace accident. The bottom line is, trailer collapse is a good thing to avoid, from any perspective!

One thing to consider regarding these “back-of-the-napkin” values, you can multiply them all by two or three, if you get a domino effect of side-by-side trailers tipping from one to the next. Yes, it happens.

For the full story on our family of trailer stands and trailer supports (including our No Boots on the Ground® options) have a look at our online resources.

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