Securing each and every load during a relocation may sometimes seem excessive, and even a waste of time, especially if you think the load is too big to move about much or too small to do any damage if it does! But in reality any load can slip and slide, and relying on friction alone can be hugely detrimental, not just to the load and the driver of the transport vehicle, but to all other road users and pedestrians too. 

Any load can be subjected to sudden breaking, a tight corner, or abrupt change of direction which can force the load to move about inside the vehicle. At best, this could cause damage to the load, and at worst cause the vehicle to tip or the driver to lose control. 

Drivers of commercial vehicles are considered to have one of the riskiest occupations in the UK, and this applies to removals drivers. But it’s important to remember that nearly all accidents involving unbalanced loads and overturned transport vehicles can be avoided with correct and safe loading.

That’s why the incorrect or unsafe loading of a vehicle has been deemed a serious offence under the Road Traffic Act 1991, in order to protect everyone involved, from the people that load and unload the vehicle and the driver to other road users and pedestrians. This has resulted in about 4000 prosecutions every year for unsafe loads. 

The Health and Safety executive have recommended the Department of Transport’s Code of Practice as guidance to safe loading. The ‘Safety of Loads on Vehicles’ (3rd Edition) covers a wide variety of goods transportation issues, such as dangerous good, palletised goods and ferry operations, which are unlikely to be relevant to a simple home removals company, but many aspects are still applicable to the moving industry. 

Risk Assessments 

The Code of Practice emphasises the importance of a risk assessment, or a basic safety checklist to ensure that every risk is considered and guarded against. A basic safety checklist should be completed before every move and should be carried out by fully trained staff to ensure it is done legally and sufficiently. 

Principles of Load Safety 

The principles of load safety are fairly simple. The load should be: 

Restrained – tied firmly down to the bed of the vehicle

Contained – so it can’t shift about inside the vehicle 

A vehicle changing direction, such as at a roundabout or corner, or breaking, will cause any load to shift if it is not properly secured. As such, all loads should be restrained to hold sufficient weight in any direction. 

It’s also essential that the vehicle used to transport the load has adequate strength to carry the required weight. 

The arrangement of the load is vital to its safety and there are a few guidelines that will always be relevant to loading:

  • The load should always be evenly spread in the vehicle
  • Larger, heavier items should be at the bottom, with lighter, smaller items at the top
  • Heavier items should also be nearer the middle, to spread the weight evenly
  • Adequate load securing equipment should be used at all time, including clamps, steel wire, chains, webbing harnesses, sheets and ropes

Clockwork Removals

The team at Clockwork Removals London take load safety very seriously, so you can be sure that all of your belongings will be transported securely and arrive at your new home or commercial property in perfect condition. For any more information about how we secure your belongings during transit, contact us today!

Our thanks to Ian Humphries for these transportation tips!