Sep 04

How To Secure Truck Loads

More than half the carriers on the Getloaded load board run flatbeds and specialty equipment, so it's important to know the best way to strap down and/or tarp that specialized load. A couple months back, I discussed the FMCSA's rules on how to secure different types of loads. Those rules apply to any cargo-carrying commercial motor vehicles doing interstate commerce. Each type of trailer and cargo requires its own securement system, and there are several areas of concern when securing a load to a trailer. The FMCSA defines a “securement system” as a method that uses one or a combination of these three elements:

Vehicle Structure 

  • Floors
  • Walls
  • Decks
  • Anchor points
  • Headboards
  • Bulkheads
  • Stakes
  • Posts

Check everything to make sure there’s no obvious damage or weakened parts or sections. The FMCSA rules explain how much force the load should be able to withstand from each direction.

Securing Devices 

These are devices that connect or restrain cargo to the vehicle structure, and a tiedown is a combination of these devices that connects to an anchor point. The tiedowns are either attached to the cargo or pass through and over it. The extra downward force creates the friction that restrains the load. 

Some examples of securing devices:

  • Chain
  • Wire rope
  • Manila rope
  • Synthetic rope
  • Steel strapping
  • Synthetic Webbing
  • Clamps and latches
  • Blocking
  • Grab hooks
  • Binders
  • Shackles
  • Winches
  • Stake pockets
  • D-rings
  • Pocket
  • Webbing ratchet
  • Bracing
  • Friction mat

Make sure to use some kind of edge protection if the tiedown could be cut or torn by the cargo. 

Blocking and Bracing Equipment

Chocks, cradles or any other blocking or bracing equipment has to be strong enough not to be crushed by the cargo or tiedowns. The same goes for anything used for dunnage. If you’re blocking or bracing with wood, use properly seasoned hardwood – no green wood – and the grain should run lengthwise.

Shout-out: Any flatbed, stepdeck or RGN trucker who has a load securement story to share, please contact me at tbrady@writeuptheroad.com. In future blog posts, I'll continue discussing regulations covering both general cargo securement requirements and item-specific rules that apply to specific types of loads hauled by flatbed, stepdeck and RGN truckers.

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