Well, someone is saying you’ve not and that someone is The Health & Safety Executive and VOSA.
A series of spot checks in March and April has revealed that the majority of commercial vehicles fail to meet the standards for basic load security.
The DFT lays out standards to cover how a load should be secured, but it seems most commercial vehicle operators are ignoring them.
The worry seems to be that if a load is being carried in a dangerous manner, by not being secured properly, part or the entire load could end up on the road, or maybe, it could injure staff that is unloading the vehicles, if it has become insecure. Even opening a vans rear door could potentially see the load fall out on top of you.
The issues seem to be that some loads are not secured at all, or have inadequate load security straps or maybe ones that are worn out. They say that loads should be secured to the bulkhead?
We always advocate (where not fitted as standard) the fitment of a bulkhead in a box van, simply because in the event of heavy braking, things could be thrown about and hit the driver or passenger, but that said, not everyone chooses to take our advice and we know that certain operators just throw stuff in the back and often, they are heavy items, but as they say “you can lead a horse”.
We have all seen parcel delivery vans where the load is just dotted around the van and as in most cases, these guys rush around as quickly as possible to get their jobs done, and I guess they wouldn’t want to un-secure the load, and then re-secure it again after each drop, so human nature being what it is that’s how they operate.
The most worrying situations occur on drop-sides, where pretty much anything can be dropped onto the back and who hasn’t followed a vehicle like this down the road and been concerned at the load the seems to be insecure and bouncing around. Pipes, scaffolding poles and that kind of stuff worry me, as they are difficult to secure and should one slip off the back whilst you are following, well it could have disastrous consequences.
So what do we do, do we simply herald VOSA for the spot checks they are conducting, or do we try and point it out to the driver, after all, you can see the load and he cant, and that could be done by ringing his employer as most times there is a phone number on the vehicle and they could make their driver aware. Perhaps we choose to do nothing, hoping all will be OK?
We all have a duty to other road users and an unsafe load is an offence and can carry anything from a verbal warning to a £60 fixed penalty and in extreme circumstances; a driver could be issued with an immediate prohibition order, although one would only think that happens when there is no possibility of making the load safe. So I guess we owe it to each other to try and make the driver aware (in the nicest possible way) as chances are he doesn’t know and who knows, you could be saving someone’s life and saving the driver a £60 fine as well.