Lorry in the snow
February 11, 2021

How to keep your vehicle loads secure

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Vehicle Load Security

 

There are legal requirements that require all loads carried on vehicles to be secure. We expect everyone to do this anyway. However, the requirements are to protect the people involved in loading, unloading, and driving the vehicles. When a vehicle changes direction, as a result of cornering, overtaking, braking or undulations in the road, friction is not enough to stop an unsecured load from moving.

A person may be guilty of a criminal offence if they fail to ensure the load is secure.

 

Load Restraint

Must be sufficient to withstand a force of not less than:

 

1. The total weight of the load forward when braking.

2. Half the weight of the load backward when accelerating.

3. Half the weight of the load sideways when cornering.

These should be regarded as minimum requirements, as greater forces are likely to be experienced in an accident.

 

Headboards

Should:

1. Be capable of withstanding horizontal force uniformly distributed over its vertical area of half the rated payload of the vehicle

2. Be at least as wide as the cab width

3. Be high enough to obstruct forward movement of the load the vehicle is designed to carry

4. For maximum benefit, be in contact with the load

5. Not have apertures large enough to allow penetration by any part of the load

 

Load-securing Equipment

Should be able to prevent movement of the load when accelerating, braking or cornering etc. The following principles should be followed:

1. Surfaces should not be slippery

2. If no headboard is used, baulking must be properly secured to the vehicle

3. The load anchorage points should be suitable in number and in safe working capacity

4. Lashing must be properly tensioned and in good condition

 

Sheeting

A variety of loads need to be sheeted for legal and operational reasons. Useful guidance on safe sheeting methods can be found on the HSE website and the Department for Transport Website or the Highways Agency website.

The Code of Practice – The Safety of Loads on Vehicles provides a list of do’s and don’ts regarding safe loads:

 

Do’s

1. Do make sure your vehicle’s load space and the condition of its load platform are suitable for the type and size of the load.

2. Do make use of load anchorage points.

3. Do make sure you have enough lashings and that they are in good condition and strong enough to secure your load.

4. Do tighten up the lashings or other restraining devices.

5. Do make sure that the front of the load is abutted against the headboard, or other fixed restraint, etc., so that your load cannot move.

6. Do use wedges, scotches etc., so that your load cannot move.

7. Do make sure that loose bulk loads cannot fall or be blown off your vehicle.

 

Don’ts

1. Don’t overload your vehicle or its individual axles.

2. Don’t load your vehicle too high.

3. Don’t use rope hooks to restrain heavy loads.

4. Don’t forget that the size, and nature and position of your load, will affect the handling of your vehicle.

5. Don’t forget to check your load: –

a) before moving off

b) after you have travelled a few miles

c) if you remove or add items to your load during your journey

6. Don’t take risks.

 

Contact the Ascend Transport team for any advice or for any questions you may have. We’re always happy to help.