Transporting goods in the UK? Heavy Goods Vehicle Load Security? Trailer load security transporting goods in the UK, British Trucking guide to load security best practice to comply with legal safety requirements when transporting goods using a heavy goods vehicle.
Why Trailer Load Security Is Vital
All heavy goods transported by road in the UK have to be secured to the vehicle or trailer there carried on, this is a safety requirement to protect the driver and other road users, securing the load correctly also reduces the risk of damaging the vehicle and the load itself.
The load securing system must be able to secure the entire weight of the load forward and half the weight of the load to the rear, also it must be able to secure half the weight of the load to the sides.
Load security starts by using the structure of the vehicle or trailer, loading up to a bulkhead or headboard if possible. If this is not possible any gaps should be packed with blocks or pallets to stop any forward movement of the load should heavy braking be necessary!
The headboard or bulkhead should be strong enough to take the weight of the load, any damage to the headboard or bulkhead should be repaired as soon as possible.
Trailer bodies built to the reinforced XL standard or equivalent can be used to secure loads without additional restraints, and some trailers come equipped with equipment to make trailer loading easier.
Most trailer loads are restrained using lashing straps or chains.
Two Main Ways to Lash a Trailers Load
This method is normally used for plant equipment or heavy machinery, one end of the lashing is attached to the load, and the other end attached to a lashing point or the vehicle chassis.
The lashings are used in opposing pairs to prevent the load from moving.
This type of lashing can be used for many types of load, the lashing should pass over the load from one side of the vehicle or trailer to the other.
The number of lashing straps needed will depend on the weight of the load, friction between the load and the load bed, the rating of the lashing straps, the angle of the lashing strap relative to the load bed, and how many tensioners are used.
The angle of the lashing relative to the load bed is very important with frictional lashing, the lashing straps should be as close to vertical as possible.
If the load is very low, it is good practice to place a pallet on top of the load to increase the angle of the lashing strap relative to the load bed.
The friction between the load and the load bed can be increased by using friction matting, or high friction floors on the vehicle or trailer.
Working at Height
When loading a trailer working at height should be avoided if possible, even a low fall from a vehicle can lead to serious injury or even death!
Securing Different Types of Loads
Lashings are not suitable for every type of load, crushable loads may need to be transported in a stillage or box, or secured using rated tarpaulins or nets that wrap around the load.
Cargo straps can cut into packaging or bags when they are tensioned, in this case, edge protectors can be used to protect the load.
Loads that are likely to settle such as aggregate or powder can be difficult to secure, the load may feel secure as you set off but as the load settles the straps can become loose, other methods of securing may be more suitable for this type of loads such as nets or tarpaulins.
Stacked loads need to be loaded carefully so that the stack does not become unstable, truck drivers can be easily injured if an unstable load falls off or out of a trailer during unloading, a stacked load should be stable without lashings to hold them upright.
Whatever trailer load security you use it is important to show that the load has been secured properly, a load plan tells everyone involved in loading, transport, and unloading what they need to know about the load and how it has been secured so that the load can be transported safely.
Trailer Load Security Video Guide
Using The Correct Lashing Straps
When using lashing straps to secure a load on a vehicle or trailer it is important to use the correct length straps and the correct strength straps to ensure the load will not move during transportation.
Lashing straps should be to the correct standard and have the safety tag showing what it conforms to attached to the strap.
Straps and chains will be rated to different tolerances so it is important you fully understand the weight of the load and the lashing requirements to secure it.
There are a few common-sense tips for securing your load and making sure it stays safe during transportation. Always use the correct straps, always tie down any loose items in the back of the vehicle or trailer so they cannot move around, never overload vehicles, always put safety first to protect yourself, the load, other road users, and workers who may be unloading you.