Load Safety

16 Feb

Load Safety



During an average year there are around 2,000 prohibitions issued for unsafe loads. The maximum fine is £5,000. So, as well as the obvious safety implications, it pays to make sure you’ve got it right – An unsafe loading/unloading offence carries 3 penalty points and a licence endorsement for you. The court may also give you an unlimited fine

As with all RJC Lowloaders Policy’s load safety is critical in the safe and efficient running of the operation. It’s vital to make sure you secure the load on your vehicle correctly as not to endanger other road users, yourself, not to cause damage to the load. Most shed loads are preventable: make sure you know how to handle your vehicle correctly and safely, and that the load is properly secured.

Before leaving the yard it is your responsibility to make sure that you have the correct vehicle and trailer for the load and that you have the right and serviceable securing equipment. If it is faulty get it replaced! If you are the driver but did not witness the vehicle being loaded / unloaded then you should check that the load is in a safe condition before you commence / continue your journey

Different loads will need to be positioned and secured in different ways. As a general rule, the weight of the load should be distributed evenly over the axles to increase stability of load, with the centre of gravity of the load kept as low as possible.

You’ll need to think about

  • What the load is, its weight, height, shape and volume
  • Whether the vehicle is suitable for carrying the load
  • How stable the load is
  • What type of restraint to use
  • The payload of your vehicle (Payload is the maximum load your vehicle can


  • The maximum permitted gross axle weight (You’ll need to calculate the gross

    axle weights so you can make sure your vehicle isn’t being overloaded).

  • Protecting the load from the weather, theft and damage

    If you’re new to driving a particular type of vehicle, ask the Office for information and training to help you operate it safely.

    Make sure you use a suitable device to secure the load on your vehicle and that you attach it to the correct anchoring points

    The load restraint system must be strong enough to withstand a force of

  • At least the total weight of the load forward, to prevent the load moving under severe braking
  • Half the weight of the load backwards and sideways.
  • Make sure the restraints and the anchor points, when combined, can bear

these weights.


Because of the forces acting on a large goods vehicle, loads are most likely to become unstable when you’re driving

You’ll need to be particularly careful to avoid driving too fast and sudden steering, acceleration and braking in these situations

Check the load and securing devices periodically to make sure nothing has moved or become loose. The load on your vehicle can shift during a journey. If you notice a change, stop as soon as you can safely and check the load. If you can, re-secure the load before you continue your journey. However, if you can’t fix the problem on your own you’ll need to ask for advice and/or help – don’t start driving again until the load is secure.

If you don’t think it is safe don’t take it and seek advice!

The Official DVSA Guide to Driving Goods Vehicles contains comprehensive advice on loading.


  • Around roundabouts
  • On slip roads
  • On long (fast) bends.

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