There are two types of truck owners in the world – those who can tie down a load with a variety of knots and straps and those who think a bungee cord will suffice for anything. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s take a few minutes to discuss properly securing a load in your truck, no matter what you’re hauling. Bear in mind, we’re not going to tell you how, because the method you need for a load of lumber is far different than how you’d do a crated engine or a commercial freezer.
First of all, the rules that govern the Commonwealth of Canada usually only apply to trucks and vans over a certain weight – 4,500 GVWR – but if you’re hauling anything for a business, let these be a lesson to you:
“All cargo must be immobilized or secured so that it can’t: leak; spill; blow; fall from the vehicle; fall through the vehicle; or otherwise become dislodged, shift upon or within the vehicle so that the vehicle’s stability or maneuverability is affected.”
Additionally, enforcement officers have the right to not only inspect how any commercial vehicle has cargo secured, they also retain the right to ask the driver why the cargo is secured the way it is. Just as importantly, these are the rules and considerations that will be used no matter how far the load is to be transported. Down the street or to the other side of Canada.
Here’s the critical part of the conversation – if you are a commercial entity – and you likely are, if you’re using the truck for work – then causing an accident due to a failure to properly secure a load can be a litigious experience.
With that in mind, let’s talk about how to get started with the right strategy for securing your cargo.
Right off the top, take a long look at what you’re anchoring to. Nearly every truck has “factory” tie downs, but those may or may not be up to par for your needs. Sure, the little stamped steel hooks on built into truck beds today are fine for strapping in a ladder, but do they have the guts to hold on to a 500-pound piece of equipment? Start off by understanding what the factory specifications are for the tie downs and reverse engineer your needs. Can you actually secure the load with the factory gear?
Here’s where a clear understanding of your needs comes in. If your truck is going to be hauling heavy equipment and material, think about setting yourself up for success and installing a flat bed with the cargo restraints your job demands. In the long run, it’s going to save you a ton of time, aggravation, and likely money because you don’t have to worry about fines or damaged cargo.
Next, take the time to invest in the proper tie down straps, tarps, netting, and/or ropes. Here’s where complete clarity on the strength of your tie downs – using the safety formula you feel most confident in (and your Province requires) – pays off. More than once, we have seen where factory truck bed tie downs are literally broken due to ratchet straps tearing them apart – and that’s unacceptable. Your team needs to have complete confidence in their tools, their gear, and their vehicles.
Do you need to upgrade? You’ve got to know ahead of time.
Another consideration for securing cargo is a clear understanding of what the truck can hold. This is the prime reason we see so many flat decks on ¾ and 1 ton trucks – they can actually use the space a flat bed frees up and they are safe to carry the load (and the trailer you need to pull, too). A half-ton pickup might be okay for the foreman to drive, but the teams or the tradesmen handling the work really needs to be configured to make the most out of the payload of the truck … and that means a heavy-duty, professionally installed flat deck to give you every option for cargo and hauling you need. When you do this, you’ll have the ability to custom tailor the placement of your tie downs and achieve the security your teams need.