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The Importance of Load Security

6 September 2023

Driving for Better Business highlights the importance of load security, supporting the recently updated load security guidance from DVSA produced in collaboration with HSE.

DVSA's updated load security guidance covers the responsibilities of vehicle operators, drivers and anyone involved in the loading of a vehicle to when transporting different loads and how to make them safe.

The guidance applies to any vehicle which is carrying a load, whether it is an HGV, van, car or any other type of road-going vehicle.

Why is load safety important?

  • Insecure loads can affect the handling of the vehicle.
  • Even light objects which come loose from a moving vehicle can kill on impact.
  • Insecure loads can fall from the load bed when the curtains or doors are opened, putting the driver in serious danger.
  • In 2020 46,000 items fell onto the strategic road network from moving vehicles – including doors, washing machines and sofas! These are a serious hazard for other road users and can cause road closures.
  • Remember that the load might not only fall off the vehicle but can move within it. Inertia means that an insecure load will continue traveling forwards at speed even if the vehicle itself slows or stops.
  • Typically we think of ‘freight’ in terms of loading – but actually it is anything you have in the vehicle including tools, fire extinguishers, lunchboxes, animals or water bottles. Anything which is left unsecured in a vehicle is potentially hazardous to the driver and other road users.
  • Equipment, straps, nets, curtains, or any restraint gear must also be safely stowed and secured even if the vehicle is otherwise empty.

There a numerous pieces of legislation which cover and support the issue of safe loading. There are also significant penalties for drivers, and for anyone found negligent in handling a load should someone be injured.

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