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January 22, 2010

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Load safety campaign to spot-check vehicles

Vehicle spot-checks will take place in the coming weeks as part of a

new campaign to reduce the number of death and injuries relating to

poorly-secured vehicle loads.

Officers from the HSE and the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA) will inspect the loads of randomly-stopped vehicles, over eight days of spot-checks in the North West of England.

Drivers and/or businesses found to have loaded their vehicles in an unsafe way could face fines, or risk having their vehicle ordered off the road.

The initiative forms part of a wider nine-week HSE campaign on load safety. Other campaign activities will involve the mailing of guidance to hauliers and transport managers on loading and unloading safely, while radio and trade-press adverts will invite workers to visit the HSE’s online campaign page for more information.

Loading and unloading account for one in five workplace transport incidents — many resulting from loads not being properly restrained. Unsafe loads on vehicles injure more than 1200 people a year and cost UK businesses millions of pounds in damaged goods.

In similar spot-checks conducted in April last year, close to 80 per cent of loads were found to be insufficiently restrained.

The HSE’s Peter Brown 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.”

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.”

For more information, visit

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