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A secured load has moved following a simulated crash in this van

Simulated van crash: secured load has moved

New research to ensure best practice for load carrying

Small businesses form the engine room of the economy.

Many small businesses and tradesmen run vans.

These vans carry goods, equipment and the tools of their trade.

Yet these very businesses are running vans with loads that could potentially kill says the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

Following a demonstration at the TRL research facility, which revealed the hidden dangers to which van drivers might be exposed, the FTA has commissioned research to establish best practice for load retention.

The demonstration found that:

  • Secured loads moved forward, puncturing the bulkhead and entering the driving compartment
  • Copper piping, secured on the roof in a tube, ejected when the retaining cap flew off turning the piping into lethal flying projectiles

The FTA said new guidance was needed. Opinion among enforcement agencies varied between a load staying in place and not moving during severe deceleration; and current Department for Transport guidance – that loads should withstand forces up to 1G.

“The current uncertainty on safe loading could have practical implications for users of all types of vehicles, from the local builder to national operators,” said James Hookham, deputy chief executive, FTA.

TRL is now providing a risk assessment and safety programme suitable for both the smaller business and larger fleet operator. It will ensure businesses have undertaken appropriate duty of care.

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