For many businesses, loading and unloading lorries is a daily duty, and it can come with risks of workplace injuries. As well as this, if a load isn’t securely properly and goods fall from a lorry, it could be catastrophic to the point where a road accident is caused. In mind of this, safe loading and unloading of vehicles, as well as following the DVSA guidelines on load securing, is crucial to both protecting HGV drivers and other road users.
In this guide, we’ll discuss everything from the most common types of loads to best practices for safe loading and unloading of vehicles.
In 2013, 22,000 road collisions occurred in England due to objects falling from vehicles. Accidents caused by inadequately secured loads can result in traffic jams, injuries to the lorry driver and other road users, damage to infrastructure, and damage to the goods being transported. Therefore, all HGV drivers should regard load securing as one of their primary concerns. Correct and efficient load securing stops goods from falling onto roads, and it also reduces the risk of putting the driver and other road users in danger. Not only that, but it also saves money by ensuring goods arrive at their destination undamaged.
The correct loading and unloading rules that drivers must follow will depend on the type of vehicle they’re driving. But in general, HGV drivers should take into account the following when loading and unloading their vehicle:
Transport Operators (fleet managers) and HGV drivers have a joint responsibility for the safe loading and unloading of vehicles, and both must receive appropriate training. At Driver Hire Training, our Safe Loading & Unloading of Goods Vehicles module will ensure HGV drivers have detailed understanding of the risks associated with loading and unloading, best practices to follow, as well as responsibilities on the road. Whilst undergoing training, drivers must be supervised when loading and unloading lorries, until fully trained.
The DVSA also advises that the haulier and delivery site communicate with each other to set out a loading and unloading plan. With clear guidelines on who’s responsible for each phase of the loading and unloading process, and what the haulier can expect at the delivery site, it makes the process more streamlined and safer for all involved.
Depending on the industry, HGV drivers can expect to handle one or more of the following types of loads:
When it comes to securing a load, there are multiple ways to do so, and all depend on various factors. For example, the type of load, the securing equipment at hand and so on.
Before securing a load, HGV drivers must make sure to check the appropriate load securing solution is working properly. Damaged equipment must be reported immediately, and it’s also advised that spare securing equipment be always kept in the vehicle.
The most common load securing solutions are the following:
All fleet managers must make sure their drivers are fully trained to load and unload their vehicles in the correct, efficient and safe manner. This will ensure your customers receive quality service, and it’ll also keep HGV drivers and other road users safe.