How to Stay Safe While Tying Down Cargo

Transporting cargo seems like the simple procedure of getting from point A to point B, but the proof is in the pudding. The most dangerous components to cargo transport are the loading, unloading and moving of unwieldy, heavy objects. Serious injuries and death are waiting right around the corner from a poorly distributed or secured load. If part of a load breaks free from a transport vehicle it can bounce into multiple lanes of traffic, causing damage, injury and fatalities.
Loading and unloading cargo requires proper training and vigilance to avoid bodily injury.

There are many ways to secure loads on different kinds of transport. Some more recent innovations include polyester strapping, plastic webbing and inflatable bags, sometimes known as dunnage bags. Steel strapping, wood blocking and bracing are still high on the list for securing cargo.
Utilizing these safety features, it is up to loaders to be vigilant for their own safety and that of transporters and professionally secure all cargo.

Good lighting
Areas where loading takes place should have good lighting to facilitate safe footing, viewing and stacking loads properly.

Loading areas
Loading areas should be located away from pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The surface of the area should be smooth, flat and free of obstructions lying around that could cause a loader to stumble or fall.The vehicle to be loaded should be cleared of any previous debris or loose materials before people begin to load cargo. Make sure the vehicle is properly equipped with horn, reflectors and lights in good condition.

Brake and stabilize
The vehicle can suddenly roll or shift with a heavy load unless it is secured first.

Tie-downs
Two tie-downs should be used for any cargo being secured, no matter the length. Loads like pipes or logs 27 feet long require at least 4 binders. A red flag is required for loads that extend beyond the vehicle more than three feet. A red light should be alternated for the red flag at night.

Tool box
Make sure tools are secured and locked into a box. Do not store loose items in the backseat or rear window of a vehicle. A sudden stop or collision can catapult the tools into the driver.

Personal inspection
Secured loads may come apart or shift, especially on long road trips. Stop and inspect the load frequently to avoid accidents.

Cargo transport for multiple markets and goods is only as secure as the weakest tie-down.