CYA with BOL
Document cargo issues
Write on the load docs
Are you utilizing your BOL to document cargo issues? When the shipper hands you the BOL, you are taking responsibility for the cargo listed. Be sure to write on the BOL if there are any issues, to cover your self!
Jot notes and have the shipper or receiver sign it.
Document on the BOL while still at the pick up
If possible, get the shipper to sign/initial the additional documentation you have added to the BOL. If they refuse, simply document "Shipper declined to sign addendum". Be sure to write in the date and time.
When you deliver, the receiver can make a claim that you have not secured or protected the cargo. Reduce your risk by writing on the BOL at the pick up site!
THEIR TARP - In the case of the photo above, a military load consisted of cargo that was damaged prior to loading. Their tarp was torn, missing & broken connectors, etc. There was visible evidence of their duffle bags spilling out of the back.
After addressing it with the shipper - onsite - my carrier documented the damaged cargo (tarp) to avoid accepting responsibility for the damage. The driver documented this on the BOL, with a date and time. The shipper did agree to sign - though this is not always the case.
Another recent instance - the employee at the pick up damaged some aluminum cargo while loading with the fork lift. We advised the driver to take photos, document on the BOL and submit that to us prior to securing or otherwise touching the load. The email from the driver is a legal date/time stamp. We then advised him to notify the office at the pick up - they agreed to sign the notation on the BOL, clearly indicating the driver did not cause/is not responsible for the damage.
If these steps had not been taken - there's no doubt the receiver would have filed a claim against the carrier. Oh no!
Time stamp it by sending a text/email with photos & updated BOL
In addition, photos were taken and sent immediately to us. We were able to document this to the broker, while the driver was still on-site. This avoided any potential issues at the receiver's end.
Don't be afraid to write on the BOL.
When you accept the BOL, you are accepting respsonsibility for the load. Make sure you read the BOL, to ensure the information is accurate. And don't be afraid to write on the BOL if there are any discprepancies.
Taking photos while still on-site and submitting them, will also support your documentation; as the email/text will indicate the date and time.