Fleet News

RHA produces DVSA-agreed guide to safe loading of pallets

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has made important additions to its suite of guidance notes for members on the safe loading of goods vehicles.

New guidance has been issued on securing palletised freight onto curtain-sided vehicles and a solution for improved securing of pallets on the upper deck of double-deck trailers has been proposed and is going forward to operational trials.

The guidance has been developed by Ray Engley, head of technical services at RHA, with a working group of RHA members from pallet network TPN: Trevor Edden of TWE Haulage; Mark Duggan of Eezehaul; Paul Johnson of Transervice Express Transport; Mark Watkins of MWT; Martyn Bowers of Pallet Express Systems; and Tom Cassin, health and safety manager at TPN.

The enforcement agencies DVSA and HSE/HSL have been part of the process and have agreed the guidance notes.

Secure loading on the upper deck

The guidance notes set out current requirements of the enforcement bodies in respect of the upper deck of curtainsiders: that pallets be single-stacked; constitute light freight in line with guidance (and the goods must be secured effectively to the pallet); and that all the internal straps are properly engaged.

The guidance proposes the use of an additional, internal curtain-and-strap arrangement that has been developed by the working group and which will be trialled by several hauliers to ensure its continuing operational practicality. The straps are integral with the curtain and go inboard under the top deck to improve containment. The curtain is operated from ground level.

The first hauliers to agree to trial the system are from TPN.

This arrangement, which is freely available to any operator and trailer makers to adopt, will be of particular interest to hauliers specifying new trailers. It can also be fitted retrospectively.

The benefit of the internal curtain with integral straps is that it contains the pallets more effectively than using internal straps on their own. This improves safety and security both at the roadside and when the trailer is to be unloaded.

Mark Kendall, operations director at TPN, said:  “Both TPN Members and the Hub have been very pleased to work alongside RHA’s load security expert Ray Engley to achieve a potential solution to one of the most pressing safety and operational issues facing the sector. We look forward to the results of our operational trials.”

An example of the internal curtain with straps will be shown by Montracon at the CV Show, at the NEC this week.

Forward and aft movement

The guide sets out in simple terms what the enforcement bodies are looking for in terms of forward and aft security of pallets, particularly on part-loads and diminishing loads.

It also highlights a solution, using adjustable internal sling straps (operated from ground level) that are secured at the front and rear of the truck body or trailer.

Future-proofing a progressive industry

Engley said: “Securing the top deck of double-deck curtain-siders has been a challenging issue for the industry. I am delighted that the Association has been able to work with member companies to propose what we hope will be a solution for the future that meets the requirements of regulators and operators.”

Kendal  said: “Palletised freight distribution using double-deckers has been one of the industry’s key innovations, in terms of service levels of businesses, growth and carbon savings. The compliance requirements are also changing and this guidance provides a solution that meets the needs of both regulators and progressive hauliers.”

Welcoming the new guidance note, Mark Horton, DVSA’s Traffic Enforcement Scheme Manager said: “DVSA have stepped up their enforcement of safety regulations, not least in terms of double-deck curtainsiders. We have already seen significant improvements in the past year but the sector needs to make further improvements.  The RHA has produced a valuable guide to what is required today and a pointer to the standards that will be expected in the future.”

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