When it comes to trucking safety, any professional truck driver will tell you that cargo securement is one of the items at the top of their list. Well, guess what? Cargo securement is also going to be at the top of every roadside inspector’s list this summer.
Get ready for the North American Standard Out of Service Criteria book to be used to keep trucks on the road during inspection season. This will especially be the case when it comes to how well commercial motor vehicles have secured their cargo.
With the annual 72-hour roadside inspection blitz set to happen for two days between June 6th and 8th, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will use the aforementioned criteria book to suggest a specific focus be paid to cargo securement.
This will be especially true where commodity haulers are concerned. It’s a fact that all fleets and owner-operating truck drivers should be aware of as they gear up for this years inspection.
The fact is, if you are a commodity-specific hauler, then there are some extremely specific rules you need to pay attention to, lest you find your big rig placed out of service for unsafe securement procedures.
The specific rules in question will govern things like:
- Metal coils
- Paper rolls
- Piping (concrete or metal)
- Intermodal containers
- Crushed vehicles
- Passenger car haulers
- Roll off containers
- Hazmat loads
- Boulder haulers
For those shipping under categories not listed here, the truck operator will be inspected by general cargo rules, as outlined in the manual.
Sure, everyone is aware the check is coming up, but what is important is that you know the specifics regarding what is going to be checked. With this year’s focus being road securement, inspectors have safety on the mind.
Want the inside scoop on what to look for to wind up on the right side of an inspection? Here’s what you need to know.
Working Load Limit
Remember you must use enough weight rated tie downs to equal at least half the weight of the load. This requires you to know the length, weight and whether or not the object you are hauling is commodity-specific.
As an example, if you are hauling a 20,000 pound object or series of objects, you need to ensure it is weighted down using a securement method that weighs in at half the actual load weight once tied down.
Use Multiple Methods
If you wind up with one tie-down that either breaks or isn’t functioning properly, it won’t hurt to come prepared with multiple methods.
Consider that you will be put out-of-service if you are using a tie down only as strong as its weakest point. Don’t go below the minimum required amount and you won’t risk being side-lined.
Complete a Thorough Pre-Trip Inspection
Nothing is more important than ensuring your pre-trip inspection is done thoroughly by-the-numbers. Of course, inspecting basic elements like tires, lights and the like, you must also make sure load securement is at the top of your list.
Depending on what the load is, roadside inspectors will be paying special attention to securement methods. Make sure to double check your methods and cross reference weight-to-securement ratios.
Don’t Rely on Synthetics Alone
Consider that synthetic straps can easily get ripped or torn. If you are using synthetic straps, it’s even more important to check them for cuts or abrasions.
The fact is, you won’t see half as many issues with chains as you might with synthetic straps. Try going with what you know rather than relying on cargo securement methods that may be likely to put you out-of-service if you just so happen to miss a tear.
Finally, consider everything from the ten-foot rule to truck driver training as was to avoid inspector ire. Keep these rules in mind and you’re sure to keep your truck on the road.