Legal requirements and common sense demand that all loads carried on vehicles are secured, whatever the journey. This is to protect the people involved in loading, unloading and driving the vehicle, together with other road  users, pedestrians, the load itself and the vehicle.

Loading and unloading should be carried out by appropriately trained staff that  are aware of the risks involved. Drivers should also be aware of the additional risk of the load, or parts of the load, moving when the vehicle is being driven. This applies to all vehicles and to all types of load.

The purpose of these guidelines is to provide basic practical advice and instructions to all persons involved in loading/unloading and securing a cargo on vehicles, including carriers and shippers. They should also be useful for enforcement bodies and courts. It could also serve as a basis for Member States when taking the necessary steps for putting into practice the training of drivers in accordance with Directive 2003/59/EC on the initial qualification and periodic training of drivers of certain road vehicles for the carriage of goods or passengers.

The guidelines aim to provide a guide for adequate cargo securing for all situations that may occur in normal traffic conditions. The reader should also be aware that there are additional specific national legal requirements in some Member States. The guidelines should also serve as a common basis for both practical application and enforcement of cargo

Ten Commandments Cargo Securing for Road Transport

The following is a short list of important basic rules which are always valid whatever the cargo transported and which should be remembered or respected when performing a transport operation. This list is not self standing. It must be complemented by the more detailed explanations that can be found in the bulk of the document.

Remember that if a cargo is not secured adequately, it can be a danger to others and yourself. Inadequately secured cargo could fall off the vehicle, cause traffic congestion and others could be hurt or killed. Inadequately secured cargo could hurt or kill you during strong braking or a crash. The steering of a vehicle can be affected by how the cargo is distributed and/or secured on the vehicle, making it more difficult to control the vehicle.

Some of the following ten commandments are primarily targeted at the driver, because he is the one physically transporting the cargo to its destination and therefore directly exposed to the hazards involved in the transport operation:

  1. Before the vehicle is loaded, check that its load platform, bodywork and any load securing equipment are in sound and serviceable condition.  
  2. Secure the cargo in such a way that it cannot shove away, roll-over, wander because of vibrations, fall off the vehicle or make the vehicle tip over.  
  3. Determine the securing method(s) best adapted to the characteristics of the cargo (locking, blocking, direct lashing, top-over lashing or combinations of these).  
  4. Check that the vehicle and blocking equipment manufacturers’ recommendations are adhered to.  
  5. Check the cargo securing equipment is commensurate with the constraints it will encounter during the journey. Emergency braking, strong cornering to avoid an obstacle, bad road or weather conditions have to be considered as normal circumstances likely to happen during a journey. The securing equipment must be able to withstand these conditions.  
  6. Each time cargo has been (un)loaded or redistributed, inspect the cargo and check for overload and/or poorly balanced weight distribution before starting. Ensure that the cargo is distributed in such a way that the centre of gravity of the total cargo lies as close as possible to the longitudinal axis and is kept as low as possible: heavier goods under, lighter goods above.  
  7. Check the cargo securing regularly, wherever possible, during the journey. The first check should preferably be done after a few kilometres drive at a safe place to stop. In addition the securing should also be checked after heavy braking or another abnormal situation during driving. 
  8. Wherever possible, use equipment which supports the cargo securing such friction mats, walking boards, straps, edge beams, etc.  
  9. Ensure that the securing arrangements do not damage the goods transported.
  10. Drive smoothly, i.e. adapt your speed to the circumstances so as to avoid brisk change of direction and heavy breaking. If you follow this advice, the forces exerted by the cargo will remain low and you should not encounter any problems.