Whether you are new to the industry or an experienced courier or haulier, safely securing loads is crucial. Unsecured loads can damage goods or, in the worst-case scenario, cause road traffic accidents putting your life and the public at risk. Poorly secured loads can also have a financial impact as there are substantial penalty notices for dangerous loads and could even result in a court summons.
Below is an overview of what you should do to ensure a load is safe, but we strongly advise that you seek the appropriate training to secure loads correctly before undertaking any loads on our Exchange.
Load the vehicle properly
- Stack the load against the headboard with the centre of gravity as low as possible. Make sure it's stable without lashings to reduce the risk of the load falling over during unloading.
- If the load is not stable by itself, think about how you can support it: you can do this by placing it in a box, stillage or transport frame.
- If the load is not against the headboard -or items could slide over it- think about other ways you can stop the load from moving forward. You may need extra lashings, sails, chocks or blocking.
- The headboard is a vital part of the load securing system - fix any damage as soon as possible.
Choose the suitable securing method
- Not all loads or vehicles are the same. Choose a securing system that stops the load moving without creating other risks - like unnecessary manual handling and working at height.
- Webbing straps or chains are typical to secure loads, but they are not suitable for every situation. For example, fragile or live loads need different securing methods to prevent damage.
Use adequate load restraint
- Incidents happen when drivers and operators underestimate how much restraint is needed to keep a load on the vehicle.
- Dynamic forces are much higher than static forces. For example, more power is generated to secure a load when moving (dynamic) than stationary (static).
- The driver is not the only person responsible for the safety of the vehicle and its load. Everybody in the transport chain should make themselves aware of the rules set out in the DfT code of practice: safety of loads on vehicles.
Load securing: roles and responsibilities
- Stay up to date with industry changes.
- DVSA regularly updates its 'Moving On' blog, which gives official advice and information for lorry, bus and van operators and drivers. You can also sign up to get email alerts when new posts are published.
- The trade associations also provide regular updates.
Health and safety
Employers have specific responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to ensure the health and safety of:
- their employees
- anyone else affected by their work activities
- Risk assessment is a legal requirement that helps you identify issues and take practical steps to control risks. This reduces the chance of a risk occurring, but you should always be mindful of loads shifting during transit.
- Drivers should never be left with an unsafe load at the roadside.
For more information and government guidance on securing loads. Please visit the following link: