Spot checks on hundreds of vehicles will take place over the coming weeks in support of the Health and Safety Executive’s new load safety campaign.
Loading and unloading accounts for one in five workplace transport incidents, according to the HSE, many of which are as a result of loads not being properly restrained.
More than 1,200 people are injured because of unsafe loads on vehicles each year and it costs UK businesses millions of pound in damaged goods.
There will be eight days of spot checks at locations across the North West carried out by officers from HSE and the Vehicle Operator Services Agency.
Similar spot checks took place in April last year with close to 80 per cent of loads found not to be sufficiently restrained.
Drivers and businesses found to have unsafe loads will face fines, and could risk having their vehicle ordered off the road.
As part of the wider nine week campaign, hauliers and transport managers will be mailed with guidance on tips for loading and unloading safely, which will run in conjunction with an advertising campaign on the radio and in trade press.
Peter Brown from HSE said: “There is absolutely no excuse for unsafe loads. We hear from drivers that they were only ‘going down the road’ or they were ‘running late’ but these just won’t wash, not when people’s health or lives are at risk.
“Vehicles are at risk of overturning if a load moves and makes them unstable. Load shifts can also put those workers who are unloading the van or lorry at the other end at risk.
“Materials falling from vehicles pose a danger to other road users as well as causing annoying traffic disruption. Apart from this, there is the cost to business of a lost or damaged load.
“Take those few extra minutes to secure your loads or at best you could face a fine or, at worst, risk death or injury to your self or others.”
John Fitch, VOSA’s research and development manager, said: “We are keen to participate in HSE’s new campaign to highlight the issues of insecure loads, provide education and information for the haulage industry and reduce congestion caused by load loss.”
Kate Gibbs, head of communication for the Road Haulage Association, said: “A considerable amount of work has been conducted into load security. Key stakeholders have been involved in assessing where the main problems are and seeing what can be done to make improvements.
“Items such as vehicle design and specification including the correct restraints for specific loads, loading dynamics, route planning, loader and driver training are just a few of the factors that need to be considered before loads are despatched.”
More information can be found at: www.hse.gov.uk/loadsafety