FTA & RHA issue advice on load security enforcement

FTA & RHA issue advice on load security enforcement

As we have previously reported, VOSA has introduced training to its enforcement officers with the aim of improving load restraint.

The following advice has been issued by both the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the Road Haulage Association (RHA) to their members on the issue of load security enforcement

"The Vehicle Operator and Services Agency (VOSA) will be introducing training for enforcement examiners with a focused approach on load securing enabling them to identify high-risk loads as part of a roll out from April 2012. The aim is to promote clarity and consistency for operators in enforcement of load securing. This initiative has been in development for some time following a campaign in early 2010 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and VOSA when enforcement examiners inspected the loads of vehicles to ensure that they were being transported securely. Similar spot checks took place in early 2009. Both campaigns highlighted concerns identifying that significant numbers of vehicles were found to have loads which were not sufficiently restrained.

During the past two years an industry led working group which includes representation from both the FTA and RHA have been involved in discussions with VOSA and the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) to review current load securing practice, making recommendations for VOSA enforcement staff to be adequately trained in assessing load securing and has drafted guidance for operators, consignors and drivers which will be representative of, and coincide with the training and guidelines given to VOSA examiners. The guidance is being funded and published by HSL, supported and endorsed by the industry working group representatives and will be launched at this year’s CV Show in April. VOSA has produced a draft matrix to assist examiners in assessing load securing methods.

This matrix distinguishes between various types of load and has three categories of severity for assessing load securing. The securing of loads will be assessed against the matrix and may result in prohibition action (P) where a high risk failure to secure adequately is identified or an advisory notice (A) where minor problems are found.

HSE research has shown that unsafe loads on vehicles cost UK businesses millions of pounds in damaged goods each year. Vehicles carrying unrestrained loads are also a safety risk to their drivers and other staff involved in loading and unloading them. On the road they also pose a danger to other road users and the public at large. An unrestrained load can significantly increase the risk of vehicle rolling over or spilling its load onto the highway.

To protect drivers and other road users, the (Road Vehicles) Construction & Use Regulations 1986 indicate that loads must be secured, if necessary by physical restraint other than their own weight, so they don’t present a danger or nuisance. VOSA can enforce a range of regulatory powers, including prohibiting the continued use of the vehicle if they feel there is serious risk to other road users, workers or to the driver and has stated that operators who are currently complying with the Construction & Use Regulations should see no difference in VOSA’s enforcement policy from April. Minor problems in the way vehicles have been loaded and secured will be dealt with through advice rather than enforcement action wherever possible."