Load securement consists of applying all the necessary methods to ensure that the company’s securing system guarantees that both the load and the people involved during the distribution cycle do not suffer any damage, thus increasing the company’s efficiency while saving costs.
We analyze why cargo securement is necessary, the main cargo securement devices and the cargo securement regulations to comply with.
Importance of load securement in road transportation
Load securement plays an essential role in the supply chain and freight forwarding industry, as well as for industry professionals, who are increasingly committed to achieving safe and efficient transportation.
Thus, more and more professionals in the sector are committed to the importance of load securement in order to offer safe and efficient transport.
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work estimates that poor load securement is responsible for 25% of accidents involving trucks.
On the other hand, another study estimated that loads obstructing the road are responsible for 200,000 accidents in the United States each year. Of those accidents, two-thirds are due to poor load securing.
The different methods of load securement are aimed at avoiding these accidents, protecting the people involved in the distribution cycle and guaranteeing the safety of the load.
To this end, a series of good practices and procedures are established for stowing and securing cargo in the vehicle so that it does not shift inside or outside the vehicle.
Thus, it is a matter of taking into account general physical and technical information on how loads behave, as well as having to comply with the practical rules for securing in road transport.
Main risks affecting load securement
The transport of goods plays an essential role in the supply chain. It is so important that, sometimes, this process is the cause of malpractice that can lead to penalties and put at risk the people involved in the distribution of goods.
Therefore, in order to increase the efficiency of this process, it is essential to know the risks and causes that can endanger the load securement.
Some of these risks include movements caused by the transport itself, as well as the chosen distribution route. This affects the load securement, which can cause, among other things:
- The inclination of the palletized load unit,
- The sliding and/or rolling of the merchandise,
- Rotation, deformation or rolling of load
By knowing these risks, companies are able to design more efficient packaging systems, as well as optimally configure and secure cargo within the means of transport. This not only increases the safety of the people involved in the distribution cycle but also reduces costs by optimizing the system.
Methods of fastening and cargo securement
In order to achieve a correct load securement, the different securing methods that will help to ensure that the cargo transported during the distribution cycle is not compromised at any time must be studied.
Thus, to achieve load securement safety, a series of actions must be carried out at least two levels:
The following solutions are recommended:
- Stretch Film: thin wrapping film that, through the use of specific machinery, stretches and wraps the unit load to achieve rigidity. Its optimal placement should be guided by criteria such as the type of film to be used, the number of wraps required or the tie-up percentage.
- Stretch hood: elastic cover which, like the stretch film, shrinks to provide greater load support. Its use is also suitable for protection against adverse weather conditions. Automatic systems are used for their application.
- Shrink film: a packaging solution that, wrapped around a unit load (e.g. a pallet), provides support and ensures its rigidity. For its application, hot air is applied so that the film shrinks and provides a better hold.
- Straps: belts made of reinforced and resistant materials to prevent the load from tilting. They can be placed manually or automatically, and horizontally or vertically. Precautions must be taken in their placement, such as the use of corner protectors or other protective products, to prevent them from damaging the load. Care must also be taken to ensure that they do not become loose due to the movements involved in transport.
- Nets: among the cargo securement devices applied to packaging, nets are not the best option to protect the cargo, but they are often used to cover the products on a pallet.
In addition to the actions on the packaging, load securement also involves the use of some fastening equipment, among which the following stand out:
- Webbing: described in standard EN 12195-2, it is usually made of chemical fibers and incorporates ratchet systems that help to improve tension. In the application of webbing, measurement of the actual tension (TR) will be key to ensure that it provides adequate safety.
- Chains: described in standard EN 12195-3, they generally consist of short links with rings or hooks and incorporate a tensioning device.
- Anti-skid sheets: consist of sheets made of paper with a friction-enhancing coating. They are usually applied between layers of goods on a pallet or between bundles and packages,
- Steel wire ropes: described in standard EN 12195-4, they provide support thanks to the incorporation of different types of turnbuckles.
- Locking bars: they are installed vertically or horizontally on the transport vehicle to secure the load and prevent it from shifting.
Load securement check
To ensure load securement during transport, it is essential to validate the load securing methods. This process includes a series of tests that test the chosen system through transport simulations.
Packaging test methods that comply with some of the most important international standards in the industry are described below:
>Packaging test methods
In turn, there are cargo securement regulations that set out the tests to which the chosen load securement system must be subjected:
- EN 12195-1: inclination test. To do this, the loading platform is tilted. The loading platform is tilted in a tilt test. A tilt angle of 26.6o is equivalent to an inertia force of 0.5 g and a tilt angle of 38.7o is equivalent to 0.8 g
- EUMOS 40509: stability test on a pallet. It consists of the acceleration of a platform on which the pallet is placed, applying inertial forces for at least 0.3 seconds (or 0.05 seconds to observe dynamic effects). A shorter duration of inertia forces may not result in the maximum steady-state deformation of the deformable unit load. To include dynamic effects in the test, the acceleration must be applied for 0.05 seconds.
- EN 12642: Vehicle acceleration test It consists of carrying out an acceleration test on a transport vehicle in which the load units to be transported have been placed. In the test, an S-curve is made and the emergency braking system is activated, observing how the inertia forces acting on the load securement. The load unit is placed on a vehicle being driven on an S-curve to generate an inertia force of 0.5 g, including the dynamic effect. An emergency braking is applied to generate an inertia force of 0.8 g. More detailed requirements and the measurement method are described in the European standard.
To carry out these tests, a series of transport simulation equipment is used:
- The family of equipment innTilt, created to perform load stability tests according to the EN 12195 standard. Thus, the equipment is able to apply the acceleration and equations specified in this standard, helping companies to pass these tests.
- The innSlide family solutions, which simulate the horizontal accelerations and decelerations typical of distribution environments, as described in the EUMOS 40509 test method.
Once the load securement has been tested in a laboratory environment and the cargo securement regulations have been met, the vehicle and load are ready to go into the distribution cycle.
In turn, there are regulations aimed at inspecting loads once on the road, in order to apply the appropriate corrective measures.
Moreover, among the rules applicable during a load securing inspection, the 2014/47/EU Standard on technical roadside inspections of commercial vehicles circulating in the Union stands out.
This inspection aims to check the suitability of the load securement system chosen, and is based on the guidelines established by the EN 12195-1 standard.
Regarding inspection methods, they shall have the following characteristics:
- The load and securing system must be visible.
- The driver shall open the vehicle and remove the covers as necessary. He shall also provide all information required, including certificates, protocols followed, test reports or load distribution diagrams.
- Inspectors may perform the following actions: remove seals, enter the vehicle, perform a visual check, measure tension forces, calculate fastening efficiency and verify certificates.
- Possible deficiencies shall be classified as minor, serious and dangerous.
Tips to improve load securement
Taking into account the information described in the previous points and being aware of the importance of load securement during the transport of goods, below are some good practices to ensure a correct and efficient load securement:
- A correct and detailed description of the load
- Check the securing plan before loading into the vehicle.
- Design appropriate packaging systems, as described in this guide.
- Pay attention to the classification, packaging and labeling of dangerous merchandise.
- Ensure that the necessary documents and reports are available.
- Ensure that you have access to the appropriate restraint equipment and type of vehicle. This includes checking the condition of the vehicle and of cargo securement devices, as well as checking the strength of the vehicle’s floor.
- To have a team of people trained to transport and interact with loads, in addition to the correct use of securing equipment.
- Apply a correct load distribution in the vehicle, taking into account the vehicle’s axles and recesses.
- Verify the correct locking of the vehicle
- Visually check the vehicle and load, both at the start of the trip and during the trip, whenever possible.
- Design fastening systems that take into account parameters such as acceleration, friction coefficients and safety.
- Carry out the appropriate test methods as described in this guide.
Ultimately, load securement becomes a crucial factor to ensure success and security during the distribution cycle. Do you want to verify your cargo securement methods?
In Safe Load Testing Technologies we design and implement transport simulation equipment specifically designed to comply with the regulations cited in this guide. Contact us and let’s talk about how we can help you.