Loads that are not properly secured cause tens of thousands of road incidents each year in the UK. So how can managers and LGV drivers better tackle the issue of load safety?
Loading and unloading a vehicle is such a routine part of an LGV driver’s job that sometimes its impact on safety can be overlooked, with drivers becoming complacent. Even managers who are on board with the notion that good quality, relevant, and regularly updated training is vital for LGV drivers, may not be considering whether load safety is being adequately covered.
Following their training, a qualified driver should understand the basic principles of load safety: load shift and how it can be countered; the effect of forces on the moving vehicle and its load; and the consequences of not securing loads properly. However, it is very easy for LGV drivers to think only in terms of their own part of the operation and this is where the right training can come in, and improve safety.
To help reduce incidents, LGV drivers should consider load safety at every single stage of the process, from the picker handling the consignment, to the lift truck driver moving the forks onto the pallet, and to the loading assistant directing the placement of the loads. By implementing the right training, LGV drivers can learn to take all of this into account; considering what the load is, how it is stored, and how it is put on the vehicle – including how it is distributed and secured once placed on the vehicle.
Planning is also an important part of the process, and with the right training, drivers can learn the importance of planning for each consignment. This includes thinking about the working environment, weather conditions, the vehicle and its access and exit, lifting equipment and working at height, as well as securing and removing the load.
With such a long list of considerations, it makes it especially crucial for drivers to plan the procedures, no matter how many times they have loaded and unloaded a vehicle. However, repetition of the same work procedures can lead to complacency, which means some actions or checks get overlooked, or are performed incorrectly. This can create a completely avoidable risk. Regular training is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to help emphasise the importance of planning to LGV drivers, and to warn them of the very real risks that becoming complacent can cause.
Unstable loads obviously pose a number of potential problems, such as damage to the vehicle, the load and the roadways, as well as the more serious possibility of personal injury to the driver. An unstable load can also impact steering and braking. Understanding load distribution is also very important. Professional LGV drivers must be trained to a level where they can be responsible for ensuring their vehicles are loaded safely and correctly, which includes making sure loads are positioned correctly and that axle weights are not exceeded.
Drivers should always be aware of what they are carrying and how it could behave in transit. They also need to be trained in how the load could be affected by driving behaviour, acceleration, braking and the speed at which they turn corners, for example.
At some point in a driver’s career, he or she is likely to encounter an abnormal load. The transportation of abnormal loads is a complex issue that illustrates why it is so important that professional LGV drivers not only understand the vehicle they drive and the loads they transport, but also the legislation and regulations that surround their work. For instance, drivers must ensure they are up to date on Construction and Use Regulations concerning all aspects of their vehicle.
All of this demonstrates the need for training to tackle this important issue, and it needn’t be a burden for employers. In fact, by planning Driver CPC Periodic Training effectively, employers can ensure dedicated load safety training is covered. Although it can sometimes be overlooked, load safety training is vital to enhance the safety of drivers, and other road users such as pedestrians. It is also necessary to help reduce the number of load related incidents on our roads.
Driver CPC Periodic Training from the Master Driver CPC Consortium incorporates a module on load Safety, with eight different topics related to loading. These include Principles of Safe Loading, Planning to Load and Unload, Load Distribution, Load Awareness and Abnormal Loads. Courses can also be tailored to suit the specific needs of a business’ operations. As the courses are delivered via a variety of interactive methods, including case studies, quizzes, real world discussions and practical training, the content can also be tailored to best meet the learning and styles of drivers.
Learn more about our Driver CPC Periodic Training solution, or to discuss your training needs with us, call +44(0)1952 520207.