According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), issues with load security cause around 1,200 injuries a year and cost businesses millions of pounds in replacing damaged goods.
The Transport Law Blog has also seen an increase in the number of prosecutions brought by the HSE against truck operators for incidents involving insecure loads. December alone saw two major prosecutions for load security issues; a Punchards Haulage driver was killed by a falling concrete panel that had not been secured properly, while a driver for Hughes Specialist Transport was left with serious head injuries when he was hit by an insecure coil of wire that fell off a trailer during loading.
Not complying with the DVSA’s recommendations can be costly; both cases resulted in thousands of pounds in fines being issued to the operators and customers involved.
The DVSA last year updated its load security guidance to reflect a number of changes in load securing methods it wishes to put into practice, one being the use of EN 12642 XL rated curtainsided-trailers. Such trailers can now be used without additional load restraint provided the load is a positive fit, which means filling the entire load area to the front, back and within 80mm of the side.
For multi-drop operations the driver must ensure that a positive fit is retained after each drop by filling gaps, or another method of load restraint must be used.
The DVSA stressed that the EN 12642 XL standard must apply to the entire trailer. Trailers that have had such curtains retrofitted will still require additional load restraint.
Before the guidance was issued, the DVSA had been following the DfT’s 2002 guidance, and had not adopted a recent change in European policy which say XL-rated trailers meet the requirements. This has now been resolved.
The DVSA detailed load security guidance can be viewed on the DVSA website and gives examples for different types of freight, from automotive to drinks.
The DVSA has come up with a list of questions that drivers should ask themselves while securing a load. These are the same questions its examiners seek to answer when determining if there is a load security issue:
- can the load slide or topple forwards, backwards or to the side?
- is it unstable?
- is the load securing equipment in a poor condition?
- is there anything loose?
- is there an immediate likelihood of the load causing a danger of injury?