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Loading Lorries: How To Load A Lorry

Practical tips for safe loading

How often do you see vans and trucks driving around that are piled sky high with loads that are clearly unstable or insecure, simply to save a few minutes or to avoid having to make another journey?

Each year more than 1200 people are injured in the UK as a result of unstable loads and millions of pounds are lost as a result of goods literally falling off the back of lorries!

The risks posed by unstable loads are endless, because once a vehicle is out on the road it’s almost impossible to predict what could happen if an unstable load topples over. Even lightweight loads can become dangerous if paper, or other similar materials, are not secure and end up on the road.

In many cases a load doesn’t even have to fall off a lorry to become a major hazard. A load simply moving from side to side inside a trailer can cause the vehicle to overturn, and in severe cases it could injure the driver if it suddenly moves forwards and ends up in the cab. Plus, even if an unstable load doesn’t cause an accident, it could still create a major inconvenience, waste time and take longer to unload when the vehicle arrives at its destination.

When loading a vehicle, the load should be pushed right up to the front headboard without leaving a gap to prevent the load moving forwards when the vehicle brakes. It’s also necessary to consider the distribution of weight on the vehicles axles.

Deciding how to secure a load all depends on the individual vehicle and what the load consists of but you should start by restraining and containing the load by tying goods to the load bed and making sure they can’t move around. This is done using chains or lashings that are attached directly to the vehicle. It’s also important to check these lashings regularly for damage because even a small tear can significantly reduce the strength of the strap.

Finally when making sure that loads are secure it’s necessary to meet the minimum requirements of the Department for Transport’s Code of Practice. This states the combined strength of the load restraint system must be able to withstand at least the total weight of the load moving forwards and half the weight of the load moving backwards and sideways. Further information on this is available at http://www.dft.gov.uk

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