Today's Trucking

Avoid Fines, Penalties This Week: Secure Your Cargo

Posted: June 3, 2015

Not having your cargo properly secured could lead to a world of problems, more so than usual, as truck inspectors across North American are gearing up to hit the highways throughout North America.

June 2-4 is the annual, three-day truck inspection marathon known as International Roadcheck, when 10,000 truck inspectors will be out in full force, handing out fines and placing trucks and drivers out-of-service for safety violations.

In addition to performing a high number of the tough Level I inspections, where they thoroughly scrutinize both the driver and their tractor-trailer, they will be putting a special emphasis on checking cargo securement.

In fact, cargo securement violations represent over 80% of cargo related out-of-service violations and 13% of all out-of-service violations, according to Northbridge Insurance and the Toronto Trucking Association.

According to them, failure to properly secure cargo or equipment on a commercial vehicle is the fourth leading category of violations – after violations for brakes, lights, and tires – that result in vehicles being placed out-of-service.

The good news is it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what to do and better still here are some tips so you can reduce the chance of getting a fine or being forced off the road.

Cargo Securement Tips

Anything and everything carried on a truck must be properly secured to prevent loss of control or falling cargo from injuring drivers, passengers, or pedestrians.

While safe cargo securement principles, and of course regulations, apply to every single item carried for delivery, they also apply to anything else on the truck, including dunnage, tools, and equipment you need to get your job done. Shovels, blocks, webbing, chains, spare tires, brooms, forklifts, pallet jacks, winches, ratchets, etc., all must be secured.

1. Know the regulations. Cargo securement standards represent the minimum safety requirements for general cargo and some specific commodities. They are available at no charge from FMCSA in the U.S. and from Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators in Canada.

2. Invest in the illustrated cargo securement handbook, which includes both U.S. and Canadian regulations for reference. They are available from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, which organizes road check. You can log on to their store and order a copy of Practical Cargo Securement: Guidelines for Drivers, Carriers & Shippers, US$30.

3. Properly secure all equipment as well as your load-one of the most frequently cited violations is for improper securement of dunnage or equipment, such as tarps, blocks, chains or other tie downs, spare tires, brooms, forklifts, pallet jacks, winches, ratchets, etc.

4. Inspect tie downs for wear and damage. CVSA’s North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria includes the tie down defect tables for chain, wire rope, cordage, synthetic webbing, steel strapping, fittings or attachments and anchor points. If worn out, tie downs should be discarded.

5. Brace and block cargo properly within sided or van trailers. Loads that shift can cause not only crashes but damage to your equipment. And they indicate violations that will affect your company’s safety rating.

6. Use best practices or due diligence. There may be best practices, established by consensus by those who haul what you’re hauling, that are worth following. If your shipment is more unique, do your research, as the rules are established for a reason. Ensure your load is contained, immobilized or secured so that it cannot: (a) leak, spill, blow off, fall from, fall through or otherwise be dislodged from the vehicle, or (b) shift upon or within the vehicle to such an extent that the vehicle’s stability or maneuverability is affected. If needed, hire a professional specializing in vehicle loading.

Editor’s note: Thanks to Kevin Brandon of Northbridge Insurance and Connie Burbidge of the Toronto Trucking Association for providing this information to Today’s Trucking.



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