How to Safely Load Bales in a Trailer (Blog)

Last revised: March 14, 2024

It's no secret that running compacting and baling equipment can be a dangerous job. Compressed cardboard bales can weigh up to one ton each. Forklift operators need to exercise utmost caution when moving such heavy bales onto tractor trailers. If not loaded properly, the 2,000-pound bales are prone to shifting and falling, which can cause serious injuries and even death.

Sadly, work-related injury incidents increased for recycling industry workers in 2022, according to the latest numbers available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

IP and Our Partners

In our facilities and those of our customers, suppliers, and transportation partners, a single accident is one too many. At International Paper, ensuring the safety of our valued employees is our top priority - and we know that protecting your workers is important to you, too. That is why we created a step-by-step video guide demonstrating the safe loading and proper stacking of bales at the door of the trailer. The tutorial covers the most effective bale-loading patterns and stresses the importance of:

  1. Inspecting the Trailer
  2. Checking Bale Integrity and Wiring
  3. Identifying Unsafe Door Loads

We encourage you to share this four-and-a-half minute video with your workforce. We stress the importance of having a second layer of verification of each load before sending to the paper mill. By adhering to these loading best practices, we can all ensure that everyone in our supply chain remains safe while on the job.

This video is also available in Spanish.

Acceptable Loading Patterns for Final Row


Pattern A
Pattern B
Pattern C
Pattern D

Learn more about International Paper's commercial recycling solutions and services today.