Replace Your Roll-Off Container Parts Before Disaster Strikes

Which parts experience the most wear and when to replace them.
Meagan Daugherty

As seen in Waste Advantage Magazine | October 2019 | Volume 10, Number 10

When you first receive your roll-off container, you may have noticed the warning and caution stickers that are placed all around the container. Roll-off manufacturers care about your safety; however, those stickers can only go so far. It is your job, as the user, to keep up with routine maintenance and safety inspections.

Routine Maintenance

The most important maintenance to be done on your roll-off container is greasing the grease zerks that are found on all moving parts of the container such as hinges, wheels and nose rollers. These parts should be greased every month to every quarter to keep your container running smoothly. It is recommended to clean the container inside and out to prevent rust and corrosion that can eventually lead to holes. This task may need to occur more often, depending on the application of the container. If you have a sealed container, this would be a good time to fill the container with water to see if there are any leaks in the tailgate, or, if applicable, the lid/roof or any apertures. Once the container is cleaned, you can begin a safety inspection. Walk around the container and look for rusted out areas, holes or any other areas of concern.

Standard Subframe
Safety Inspection

Safety Decals

Check the safety decals, making sure they are visibly seen and readable. These decals are important as they are to inform employees of proper operation standards and dangers. The operation decals can be found on dewatering containers and vacuum tanks as there are certain procedures that need to be followed in order to use properly. Warning, Danger and Caution decals are to inform bystanders of the container hazards, such as standing too close to the tailgate, climbing on the container and standing nearby when being loaded/unloaded. Safety decals can experience wear over time due to weather conditions and some minor scratches to the container. They should be replaced as soon as they are no longer legible.

Tailgate

There are many areas of the tailgate that should be constantly inspected. If a tailgate were to come loose at any point during the loading, transporting or unloading process, it could cause damage and/or injury. For all types of tailgates, be sure that it is aligned properly to the rear of the container. There should be no issue of overexertion or interference with other parts when you are closing the gate to the container.

For a standard roll-off tailgate, the latch post should be fully functioning and completely intact without any holes or major shape issues. The latch ears should help to secure the tailgate to the container and be “locked in” with the latch handle bracket. Be sure that the hinge pins are not bent.

For a sealed roll-off tailgate, the same inspection as the standard tailgate should be performed, but with a few added steps. The most important function of a sealed tailgate is to ensure that no materials or liquids escape. Be sure that the seal track is still completely welded around the entire tailgate and that it has not gotten bent or twisted causing leakage to occur. Thoroughly check the seal to make sure that it is properly in the seal track and that there are not holes or sections missing. Ensure that the sealed hinges and latches are all in their proper place allowing for the tailgate to close completely. Another additional feature to the sealed tailgate is the ratchet binders. These can be found on both the latch side and hinge side of the container, as well as on the bottom of the gate. Be sure that all parts of the ratchets are intact and working correctly so you can tighten the gate to the container. If any of these tailgate parts are rusted, worn down, misshapen, broken, or not working, replace them immediately.

ISO Subframe with Shipping Container
ISO Subframe with Shipping Container

Container

The rest of the container has a variety of parts that also need to be inspected. The side posts and bottom crossmembers help to keep the container sturdy once filled with material and/or equipment. The side posts go through severe weather conditions and experience many years of use, causing them to slowly bend and rust. Depending on how far up the post is damaged, you can order a repair cap or may need to order an entirely new side post. The crossmembers can also bend and begin to weaken over time requiring replacement. Wheels are used to safely and smoothly roll the container off and on the truck. When wheels become misshapen and damaged, it can cause damage to property like driveways as they begin to drag rather than roll. The ladder rungs should be safe to climb. If they have become unattached to the container or broken, they should be replaced before the next use. On hooklift style containers, it is important to look underneath at the stops. Stops provide extra security to secure hooklift style containers to the truck. You can order replacement stops by providing the stop measurements for your specific hooklift model number to a roll-off parts dealer.

Replacing Parts

Each of these parts serves an important purpose to the roll-off and need to be maintained to keep the container in good repair for a longer lifespan. During the routine maintenance and safety inspection, if you notice any of the parts are broken or worn out, it is time to replace them. It is very important that you do not let these damaged parts continue to be used in the field. Picture some scenarios:

  1. While transporting sludge in a double rolling roof, the seal on the lids are not tight to the container, causing some of the sludge to spill out throughout the entire drive.
  2. The wheels of the container are severely dented and distorted, causing some damage to a paved driveway.
  3. You are picking up a full roll-off container after a house clean-out and when loading the container, the hooklift pin breaks and the container rolls off of the hoist and severely injures a bystander.

Do not risk the injury or the extra cost of property/environmental damage. If you have a welder on site, you can simply order most replacement parts and fix them in-house. Some roll-off container owners will order the parts and take them to a shop nearby if they do not have a welder who can do the repairs. However, there are times when the damage may be too large for just a few replacement parts. Rather than ordering a new container, you have the option to get them refurbished. Refurbishing your container gets them safe and operable again, as well as looking like new without the new container cost.

Pay Close Attention

Whether you are performing maintenance, an inspection or out at a job site, it is important to pay close attention to every aspect of your roll-off container. All parts are critical to the operation of a container, so you should never wait to replace parts after noticing something is wrong. Do yourself, your employees and your customers all a favor by replacing your parts before disaster strikes.