How to Properly Close Trailer Doors

I came across a video online about trailer doors that sparked my interest to write this article.

At first, the video seemed like it could be funny. However, the person was hit pretty hard and raised some concern in my head. I want to explain how to properly open trailer doors. I know it seems kind of silly as many of you might have learned this during the course of your CDL class but it is crucial to your safety. Did you know? Opening and closing trailer doors are two of the leading causes of work-related injuries for truck drivers. Read the information below, and ask yourself if there are actions you can take to protect yourself from harm. Let's look at some factors that can affect the ability on how to properly open and close trailer doors.

Click below to see video:


High winds can catch a swinging trailer door while you are holding it and cause back or shoulder strains. The door could also hit you with great force. Potholes, ice, mud, and uneven ground around the rear of the trailer can also lead to slips, trips, and falls when opening or closing trailer doors.


Cargo could shift in transit and fall on a driver if he or she opens the door carelessly. Doors that are not properly secured to the side of the trailer can get caught by the wind and hit the driver if he or she is not careful.


Also, Standing in the path of falling cargo, hurrying, failing to use a door strap, and ignoring slip, trip, and fall hazards around the truck are unsafe behaviors that contribute to injuries sustained while opening and closing trailer doors.

Know the Defense

  1. Start by stretching your back and shoulders.
  2. Ensure there are no obstacles or people that could prevent opening the doors.
  3. Check the wind direction.
  4. Look for slip, trip, and fall hazards around the trailer.
  5. Install door straps, if available.
  6. Stand behind the left-side trailer door and feel the right-side door for pressure from fallen cargo.
  7. If there is no pressure, open the right-side door enough to peer inside for signs of fallen cargo. Do the same for roll-up doors.
  8. If the cargo has shifted, try to close the door and lock it, then ask for assistance. Do this for roll-up doors also.
  9. If cargo falls, get away from the area quickly. Do not attempt to catch falling cargo.
  10. If cargo is secure, open the door completely, and secure it to the side of the trailer. Do not attempt to catch a trailer door if it is caught by the wind.
  11. Visually inspect behind the left-side trailer door. Do not open the door if fallen cargo is pressing against the door.
  12. If cargo is secure, open the door and secure it to the trailer.