Tips for ensuring load safety
Load security is a question of preparation, protection and placement. The key points to remember are:
Load and platform: Make sure packaging and pallets are in good condition; any degradation could result in the goods coming free of their restraints. Also check the load platform and vehicle bodywork to ensure there is no damage or structural weakness.
Risk assessment: Consider the restraint equipment, typical load and nature of the journey before carrying out a risk assessment as part of your health and safety requirement. Disseminate to all those who are involved in the loading process.
Vehicle suitability: Make sure the vehicle is suitable for carrying the intended consignment and that it is well maintained.
Load planning: Ensure the load is spread evenly over the axles, arrange the load in accordance with the delivery schedule and keep the load as low as possible to minimise the centre of gravity. Redistribute the load at times of delivery, ensuring that heavy loads are kept close to the platform.
Restraint equipment: Always use load restraint equipment, including lashing or ratchet straps, ropes, chains, bars or webbing. Ensure they are used correctly.
Walkaround checks: Walkaround checks by the driver before leaving the depot and at the end of each delivery should include checks on strap or restraint tension and fitment, goods moved during transit and the security of the trailer curtain, doors and tail lift.
Raising awareness: Make sure training is provided to drivers and loading assistants and that it focuses on driving style, safety equipment, load layout, vehicle configuration and emergency procedures in the event of an incident.
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For further guidance, DVSA have produced vehicle operator guidance on load securing which also contains a link to Department for Transport’s code of practice, the link to which can be found here. To discuss this in more detail, members can contact our Member Advice Centre.
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