Securing Your Load

Secure Your Load Truck Tarps Warehouse

On 1 October 2018, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) was amended to provide that every party in the heavy vehicle transport supply chain has a duty to ensure the safety of their transport activities.

That means that everyone from the CEO to loaders/unloaders, loading managers, drivers and subcontractors have a responsibility to ensure their loads are adequately restrained and covered. No one can just blame the driver anymore.

The new primary duty penalties can be up to, and including $3m fine for a corporation, $300,000 for an individual and up to 5 years imprisonment for reckless disregard.

Loose loads can be dangerous, and sometimes fatal, to you and other drivers. It is an offence under the HVNL if your load is not properly restrained and is at risk of falling from your vehicle.

Unsecured Load Fines

If you don’t properly secure your load you may be fined, even if your load doesn’t come loose. There are three types of risk categories with varying fines. The penalties differ between regular drivers and companies.

Minor Infringements

An unsecured load that does not involve danger to a person, or the risk of damage to property or the environment.

Penalty: Individuals are fined $242 (Driver - RSA - light vehicle),  $330 (Driver/Employer/Operator/Prime Sub-Contractor - HVNL**) and the company $1209 (Operator - RSA -  light vehicle).

Substantial Infringement

An unsecured load that poses a danger to people, property or the environment.

Penalty: Individuals are fined $645 (Driver - RSA - light vehicle),  $551 (Driver/Employer/Operator/Prime Sub-Contractor - HVNL**) and the company $3224 (Operator - RSA -  light vehicle).

Severe Infringement

An unsecured load that causes harm to people, or damage to property or the environment.

Penalty:  Individuals and companies are taken to court

If any of the offences result in court, individuals and companies will also be liable for up to 500 penalty units* for a company (up to $80,595) and 100 penalty units* for an individual (up to $16,119) Road Safety Act - Light Vehicles.

* Penalty unit = $161.19

**HVNL - Court - Minor up to $3,300
                      - Substantial up to $5,510
                      - Severe up to $11,000

How to Carry and Restrain Loads Effectively

  • Choose a suitable vehicle for your load.
  • Position and place the load so that it is secure.
  • Select suitable restraint equipment – it should be ‘rated’ and meet Australian Standards.
  • You may need to adjust your headlights when your vehicle is loaded.
  • Drive carefully and regularly check your restraints.
  • Bundle similar items together, in a more stable single unit.
  • Use restraints when packing wooden boards; anti-slip matting prevents items from sliding, especially long items.
  • Ropes can be difficult to keep tight across your load. When available use webbing straps as they can be more effective and are simple to use.
  • Nets and tarpaulins may be used to restrain lighter items.
  • Loose sheets of building materials may be restrained by fitting them tightly in trays, and then securing them properly with restraints.
  • Make sure heavy items are not loaded on top of lighter items.
  • Most headboards and loading racks aren’t strong enough to fully restrain heavy loads.
  • Fill spaces and gaps between piles with other items and make sure these are restrained as well.

Secure restraint of loads on vehicles is important in preventing accidents and injury to people.

The revised edition of the national Load Restraint Guide was released. Individual sections of the Load Restraint Guide 2018 are on the National Transport Commission website(External link) in PDF format.

A load restraint training package has been developed to support the new guide and improve the awareness and understanding of load restraint practices. The training information is available from the National Transport Commission’s website.

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