Load securing requirements at DVSA roadside checks

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) introduced training for enforcement examiners with a focused approach on load securing enabling them to identify high-risk loads in April 2012. The aim is to promote clarity and consistency for operators in enforcement of load securing. This initiative has developed following a campaign in early 2010 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and DVSA when enforcement examiners inspected the loads of vehicles to ensure that they were being transported securely. Similar spot checks took place in early 2009. Both campaigns highlighted concerns identifying that significant numbers of vehicles were found to have loads which were not sufficiently restrained. 

An industry-led working group which included representation from Logistics UK was involved in discussions with DVSA and the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) to review previous load securing practice; it made recommendations for DVSA enforcement staff to be adequately trained in assessing load securing and drafted guidance for operators, consignors and drivers is representative of, and coincides with, the training and guidelines given to DVSA examiners. The guidance was funded and published by HSL, supported and endorsed by the industry working group representatives.  

HSE research has shown that unsafe loads on vehicles cost UK businesses millions of pounds in damaged goods each year. Vehicles carrying unrestrained loads are also a safety risk to their drivers and other staff involved in loading and unloading them. On the road they also pose a danger to other road users and the public at large. An unrestrained load can significantly increase the risk of a vehicle rolling over or spilling its load onto the highway.

To protect drivers and other road users, the Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986 indicate that loads must be secured, if necessary, by physical restraint other than their own weight, so they do not present a danger or nuisance. DVSA can enforce a range of regulatory powers, including prohibiting the continued use of the vehicle, if they feel there is serious risk to other road users, workers or to the driver. Minor problems in the way vehicles have been loaded and secured will be dealt with through advice rather than enforcement action wherever possible. 

DVSA have produced load securing guidance, which can be found here, as well as their regularly updated enforcement sanctions policy document, explaining sanctions their enforcement officers would issue if they find any issues at a roadside inspection.