Load Securement Safety Program
Benefits of a Fleet Cargo Securement Program:
- Eliminates unsecured load violations
- Deters law enforce engagement by using a certified tie-down system; visual deterrent
- Reduces risk and liability of companies
- Improves safety compliance of companies
- Improves safety for all motorists
- Improves and preserves the environment
What does a Fleet Cargo Securement Program entail?
Adopt a company-wide cargo safety & securement policy using the following safety objectives:
All loads are to be properly secured no matter their size, dimension or weight to ensure safe transportation.
Cargo safety and compliance with DOT regulations should always be a top priority for any company. Proper load securement protects employees, customers, and members of the public from injury and minimizes damage to loads, equipment and vehicles.
Drivers must ensure that their loads are properly secured and that there are no loose objects that could fall from the vehicle in a collision or any hazardous condition. Use the following safety rules to secure loads:
- Ensure that the load is secure at all times.
- Check load platform, bodywork, and cargo securing equipment are sound and serviceable.
- Secure cargo so that it cannot move, roll over, wander because of vibrations, fall off the vehicle, or tip.
- Pre-operational check is required for all ratchet mechanisms, binders, cam buckles, and cargo nets and straps to ensure they’re in safe and proper working condition. The CVSA has the following Out-of-Service criteria for synthetic webbing straps:
- More than 25% of stitches separated.
- Broken or damaged hardware.
- Any repair or splice webbing.
- Overt damaged webbing.
- Severe abrasion cumulative for entire working depth of the strap.
- Cuts/burns/holes exceeding width of ¾ inch for 4” wide webbing, exceeding 5/8 inch for 3” wide webbing or 3/8 inch for 1 ¾ -inch or 2” webbing. Defects through the webbing are additive across the width of the strap’s face for its entire effective length.
- Verify that the load is safely secured:
- Before leaving to go anywhere, double check securing equipment is properly positioned.
- Stop and verify that the load is secure within 50 miles or whenever possible.
- The securing equipment must withstand the conditions of the journey like bad road and weather conditions.
- When the vehicle has been driven for 3 hours or 150 miles, whichever occurs first.
- When there is a change of duty status of the driver, check all securing equipment.
- The strap or cargo net Working Load Limits (WLL) must be equal to or greater than one half (1/2) the load being secured.
- For cylinders and liquid containers, do not use chain binders or binders without straps. Snap binders are safety hazards because the possibility of snap back.
- For palletized loads, verify that pallets are properly placed on the truck bed in close proximity to anchor points and secured.
- For loose, smaller items that are difficult to strap in place, use a multi anchoring point cargo net to cover and secure the entire load. Cargo nets are also good for securing just about any load of any size and weight within its WLL.
- Ratchet assemblies or cargo nets should not protrude over the edge of the pallet to prevent abrasion from friction. Load should not exceed pallet capacity.
- Evaluate the vehicle load capacity and the weight of the load; the heaviest items should be positioned in the center over the wheels while lighter loads should go to the rear of the vehicle.
- Working Load Limit. Tiedown assemblies (including chains, wire rope, steel strapping, synthetic webbing, and cordage) and other attachment or fastening devices used to secure articles to, or in, commercial motor vehicle must be designed, installed, and maintained to ensure that the maximum forces acting on the devices or systems do not exceed the manufacturer’s breaking strength rating under the following conditions, applied separately:
- 0.8 g deceleration in the forward direction;
- 0.5 g acceleration in the rearward direction;
- 0.5 g acceleration in the lateral direction; and
- 0.2 g accelerati
The diagram below illustrates the directional movement of the load in each direction, and the G-Force stress load being applied onto the Tiedown system.
Drivers need to be aware of the laws and their responsibility to properly secure every load being transported. Companies need to be diligent in implementing action plans for cargo safety programs and training drivers on the risks, liabilities and costs of failing to properly secure their loads. The cost of the unsecured load fines is money that should have been spent on proactive measures. Unfortunately, violations cost double due to the fine and then the purchase of securement devices that would have saved not only money but also time.
How to choose the right securement device for your truck or trailer fleet
All kinds of products are available to do the job. Here are a few widely used securement devices that seem to work well:
- Ratchet straps (work well, but tend to crush items)
- Chains with binders (for heavy loads on a flatbed)
- Cargo bars (very limited use inside trailers)
- Cam buckles with straps (work well, but limited in abilities)
- Cargo nets (very versatile, available in various WLL, secure all types of loads in various types of vehicles)
Commercial Vehicle Alliance (CVSA)
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Government Accountability Office (GAO)
Transportation Cargo Safety Organization (TCSO)
J.J. Keller and Associates