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Load Restraint Systems: Keeping the Roads Safe

by Valerie Muscat on Mar 18, 2019

It only takes a quick look at the number of accidents caused by trucks with unsecured loads to realise the importance of load restraint systems. Large quantities of cargo are transported on our roads on a daily basis. But whether or not these loads are secured is the reason we want to delve deeper into the subject today.

If only drivers realised that it’s their responsibility to ensure no danger whatsoever is caused by this kind of negligence. By simply making use of truck tie down straps, it greatly reduces the risk of incidences involving unrestrained loads.

What Does the Law Say About Load Restraint Systems?

Fortunately this isn’t a matter up for debate. There are actually rules and regulations regarding how fleet owners must transport their loads to ensure safer roads. We’ll quickly summarise a couple so you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

Don’ts

  • Carry loads in such a manner that they end up being in direct contact with the surface of the public road.
  • Carry a load that obscures your view of traffic—be it in front, either side as well as from the rear—which isn’t securely fastened.
  • Carry freight on the roof of your vehicle which isn’t safely contained. (e.g. with truck tie down straps).
  • Driving a vehicle whose roadworthy requirements are not in line with those prescribed by the necessary act.

Do’s

  • Carry your load in a container which has a provision for fastening by means of “twist locks”. It must be contained securely by at least four of these locks.
  • Be registered to operate vehicles which carry those kinds of loads.
  • While on the subject of registration, you must notify the relevant authorities if you’re no longer registered to operate that particular vehicle.
  • There are limitations to the loads you can carry. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the necessary requirements.

How to Protect Your Load During Transportation

The safety of your load is entirely your responsibility meaning there are a couple of things you need to do to ensure this. Luckily there’s innovative equipment you can utilise to ensure this as discussed below:

Straps

Straps or tie downs are relatively common forms of load restraining systems. The most popular types are ratchet tie down straps. These are basically fasteners used to hold down equipment and are essentially a form of webbing outfitted with hardware.

How does it work? This hardware allows the tie down straps to attach to the areas surrounding the cargo. In most cases, a ratchet method of tensioning the strap is used to secure the load.

Tarpaulins

A tarpaulin—also known as a tarp—is basically a large sheet of cloth made of either canvas or polyester coated polyethylene. Alternatively it can be made of plastics such as polyethylene.

What’s important to note here is this material is usually water proof or water resistant making it ideal to transport your load regardless of weather. It also helps that it’s strong but nevertheless flexible.

Load Restraint Nets

Here is yet another durable and reliable option for securing your loads. Needless to say they are commonly used in the transport and construction sectors. Will you be transporting either bulky or uneven loads? This is the ideal option.

Corner Plates

Know this: This is an absolute must when securing your load if you expect it to arrive safely—and in one peace.

They are specifically designed to provide a layer between the edge of the cargo and the strap securing the vehicle. This way the pressure is distributed across a wider area so no concentrated pressure secures the entire load. Basically they are necessary to protect your load from any damage. Best of all: They are not expensive at all.

Good to Know

There are a couple of factors you need to know when transporting heavy loads. We’ll discuss them by answering the questions below.

What May Cause a Load to Shift?

Unfortunately in certain instances, the load might shift from its original position resulting in it tilting on either side. We don’t need to explain the risks involved in such circumstances.

The most common factors that can lead to this shift include poor packaging and poor strapping. So, take the time to pack the freight properly onto the truck while ensuring it’s properly aligned. And if you can, make sure you properly reinforce as per instructions.

TIP: It’s always smart to be proactive as a driver when carrying heavy loads. This means you may need to stop and check your load while in transit. When transporting bagged products, it might actually be necessary to re-secure the loads mid-route to avoid them falling.

What Determines Which Reinforcement You Use?

Unfortunately you don’t just pick any fastener to secure your load. The one you use will depend on a number of factors including:

  • Weight of the cargo
  • Size dimensions
  • Product specifications

TIP: Whatever method you decide on using, know this: The load restraint system used must be sufficient enough to withstand a force not less than the total weight of the load.

Conclusion

The last thing you need is to be responsible for causing damage to property or worse still, loss of life because of unrestrained loads. So do the right thing: Pick a form of load restraint and play your part in keeping the roads safe.

Author

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