When you heave a heavy backpack onto your back, you start walking differently. Your body angles forward as your brain automatically redistributes the additional weight and changes your walking posture. To walk upright is a recipe for disaster.

Consider what would happen if you added that extra 30kg to an Olympic sprinter. That sprinter’s now working a lot harder to get up to speed, and will need a few extra metres to stop because the mass is propelling them forward.

Now let’s extend that situation to a Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV). Just because it has the space, does not mean it can carry it all. A vehicle cannot shift mass loading around to counter balance weight in one area, like a backpacker can.

Vehicle manufacturers invest huge amounts in understanding exactly how much mass a vehicle can legally and safely carry because mass changes the entire movement of a vehicle. Where it is positioned and how it is distributed in the vehicle has direct consequences. Add a trailer and everything changes again.

Legal limits are another crucial element to understand to ensure you are within the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM), or axle load limits of your LCV. The number of seats must be accounted for in your calculations, and vehicle loading is not just about accessories, tools and kit but also allowing for the mass of your colleagues even if they are not in the vehicle.

If your organisation purchases a crew, dual, extra or space cab, you must allow for those seats to be filled when planning your job for the day. Even if they’re empty, they are treated differently in the eyes of the law. Four workers weighing 120kg and a roo bar may be enough to push that vehicle over any one or more of those manufacturers specified limits.

For any organisation, understanding the vehicle, its capacity, its work purpose, how it is loaded and then planning the journey will ensure you’re operating within safety parameters and legal limits. Without these considerations, how safe is your workers’ workplace?

We invite your thoughts below and to please join our NRSPP and Pedders Suspension Webinar “The implications of weight on the mobile office” on 16 April 2 PM AEST.

For further information consider the NRSPP Pedders Suspension Factsheet: Safe Towing – Understanding Weight And Loading

Click here to register to our NRSPP Webinar: The Implications Of Weight On The Mobile Office

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