Steady as She Goes: Safely Securing Loads to Your Tray Top

If your business deals with loads of unusual shapes and sizes, you'll know about the unique logistical challenges they pose with your truck's tray top. Transporting anything that doesn't slot into a standard-size trailer can be frustrating — but one of the most difficult parts of shipping strange loads is securing them down to the surface they're being moved on. 

Because there aren't four walls around the shipment to protect or catch them, they can quickly become quite hazardous to any traffic or members of the public around them. For this reason alone, it's very important to make sure that you and your staff know what they're doing in strapping these loads down. Here are some tips.

Do Your Calculations

In many ways, safety is a simple calculation. According to the National Transport Commission, whatever is securing your load down must be able to hold fast against 80% of the load's weight in a forward direction, 50% in all other horizontal directions — and 20% vertically. Ensure that you have an engineer on site who can calculate these figures to ensure that your shipment meets these targets or exceeds them.

Feel the Tension

You need to secure your loads with a material that has a lot of tension. Straps designed specifically for holding down a load, such as webbing straps, are perfect because they have very high tension. By contrast, a standard rope contains very little tension, and won't hold the load in place for very long.

Start at the Bottom

Before your shipment is loaded onto your truck, you should place down something to increase friction and prevent slippage in the truck bed. What you use will depend on the shipment, but rubber matting is a great option since it is no less 'grippy' when wet. Don't assume that there's enough friction in the base of your truck just because it's textured; this is unlikely to be the case.

Keep Checking

The safest loads are the ones that are frequently checked along the way. The straps or ties holding down your shipment will naturally loosen and lose tension as they endure the motion of the journey, and the weight of the load. Stop occasionally and re-tighten them, or at least ensure they're still nice and snug.

Losing a load because of poor restraint is not just costly. It can be extremely dangerous to both your driver and to other drivers on the road — even fatal. As such, consider all these security checks and calculations to be your biggest responsibility whenever you transport something on your truck.