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UNSAFE LOADS ON THE ROAD

More than three-quarters of vehicles stopped not loaded safely

Inspectors from HSE and the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA) stopped vehicles during three days of checks and found the majority required action to make the load safe for travel and unloading.

Over three quarters of the vehicles stopped were not loaded safely – putting motorists and loading staff at risk. In most cases drivers were able to solve the problem safely within minutes. 

Marcia Davies, Head of Injury Reduction at HSE, said: “the proportion of vehicles with a problem is alarming. Vehicles which are loaded safely for the road can usually be safely unloaded at the workplace – and vice versa. A significant number of manual handling injuries, falls from heights and accidents caused by falling objects result from poorly restrained loads shifting in transit.”

John Fitch, VOSA’s Research and Development Manager said: “VOSA and HSE recognise that insecure loads present a great risk to road safety. We are keen to participate in HSE’s new campaign to highlight the issues of insecure loads, provide education and information for the haulage industry and reduce congestion caused by load loss.”

Kate Gibbs, from the Road Haulage Association, said: “Key stakeholders have been involved in assessing where the main problems are and looking at how we bring about the necessary improvement required. Items such as vehicle design and specification, including the correct restraints for specific loads, loading dynamics, route planning, loader and driver training are just a few of the factors requiring consideration prior to despatching loads.”

Jo Tanner, of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), said: “Overloaded or badly loaded lorries can present a real health risk if they are not managed properly, both during unloading and while in transit. It is of major concern that people are still being killed by something that can be prevented so easily”

Badly secured loads pose a number of risks, including:

  • shedding loads in transit, endangering road users and causing disruption;
  • vehicles overturning when unstable following a load shift;
  • loads moving inside the vehicle during transit falling off at delivery;
  • workers climbing onto trailers to deal with a load that has shifted and;
  • damage to goods being carried.

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