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Driver's Handbook on Cargo Securement - Chapter 2: General Cargo Securement Requirements

General Cargo Securement Requirements

  • The Securement System p. 9
  • Components of a Securement System
  •        Vehicle structure p. 10
  •        Securing devices p. 11
  • Containing, Immobilizing, and Securing Cargo p. 15
  •        Three ways to transport cargo p. 16
  •        Loading the cargo properly p. 19
  •        Restraining the cargo correctly p. 21
  •        Using adequate securing devices p. 27
  •        Aggregate Working Load Limit p. 29
  • Inspection Requirements p. 31

The Securement System

What is a securement system?

A securement system is a securement method that uses one or a combination of the following elements:

  • Vehicle Structure.
  • Securing Devices.
  • Blocking and Bracing Equipment.

What securement system should you choose? (Section 2.1.2)

The securement system chosen must be appropriate for the cargo's size, shape, strength, and characteristics.

Are there any requirements for the cargo? (Section 2.1.2)

The articles of cargo must have sufficient structural integrity to withstand the forces of loading, securement, and transportation.

This includes packaged articles, unitized articles, and articles stacked one on the other.

Components of a Securement System

Vehicle structure (Section 2.1.1)

What is included?

  • Floors
  • Walls
  • Decks
  • Tiedown anchor points
  • Headboards
  • Bulkheads
  • Stakes
  • Posts
  • Anchor points.

Note: Generally, the cab shield is not part of the cargo securement system. However, a front-end structure could be used to provide some restraint against forward movement if the cargo is in contact with it.

How strong must the vehicle structure and anchor points be?

All elements of the vehicle structure and anchor points must be strong enough to withstand the forces described on page 7.

  • Forward force: 0.8 g (80%)
  • Rearward force: 0.5.g (50%)
  • Sideways force: 0.5 g (50%)
  • Upward force: 0.2 g (20%)

All elements of the vehicle structure and anchor points must be in good working order:

  • No obvious damage.
  • No distress.
  • No weakened parts.
  • No weakened sections.

Securing devices (Section 2.1.3)

What is a securing device?

Any device specifically manufactured to attach or secure cargo to a vehicle or trailer.

  • Synthetic Webbing
  • Chain
  • Wire rope
  • Manila rope
  • Synthetic rope
  • Steel strapping
  • Clamps and latches
  • Blocking
  • Front-end structure
  • Grab hooks
  • Binders
  • Shackles
  • Winches
  • Stake pockets
  • D-rings
  • Pocket
  • Webbing ratchet
  • Bracing
  • Friction mat

What is a tiedown?

A combination of securing devices that forms an assembly that:

  • Attaches cargo to, or restrains cargo on a vehicle.
  • Is attached to anchor point(s).

Some tiedowns are attached to the cargo and provide direct resistance to restrain the cargo from movement.

Some tiedowns pass over or through the cargo. They create a downward force that increases the effect of friction between the cargo and the deck. This friction restrains the cargo.

Tiedown passes over cargo

Tiedown construction and maintenance

A tiedown must be designed, constructed, and maintained so that the driver can tighten it(Exception: steel strapping).

All components of a tiedown must be in proper working order.

  • No knots or obvious damage
  • No distress
  • No weakened parts
  • No weakened sections

Tiedown use

Each tiedown must be attached and secured so that it does not become loose or unfastened, open, or release during transit.

All tiedowns and other components of a cargo securement system must be located within the rubrails (when present).

Note: This requirement does not apply when the width of the load extends to or beyond the rubrails.

Tiedown within rubrail

Edge protection

Edge protection must be used if a tiedown could be cut or torn when touching an article of cargo. The edge protection itself must also resist crushing, cutting, and abrasion.

Left: Use of edge protection Right: Edge protector

Blocking and bracing (Section 2.1.4)

Material used

The material used for blocking or bracing and as chocks and cradles must be strong enough to withstand being split or crushed by the cargo or tiedowns.

This requirement also applies to any material used for dunnage.

If wood is used:

  • Hardwood is recommended.
  • It should be properly seasoned.
  • It should be free from rot or decay, knots, knotholes, and splits.

The grain should run lengthwise when using wood for blocking or bracing.

Containing, Immobilizing, and Securing Cargo

To correctly contain, immobilize, or secure cargo, you need to know about:

  • Three ways to transport cargo ..........................p. 16
  • Loading the cargo properly ..............................p. 19
  • Restraining the cargo correctly .........................p. 21
  • Using adequate securing devices ......................p. 27
  • Aggregate Working Load Limit ........................p. 29

Note: These requirements cover all types of cargo except:

  • Commodities in bulk that lack structure or fixed shape (for example, liquids, gases, grain, sand, gravel, aggregate, liquid concrete). Commodities that are transported in the structure of a commercial motor vehicle such as a tank, hopper, or box.

Note:The Standard sets forth specific securement requirements for certain loads. When transporting these commodities, you must use the specific requirements for that commodity.

  • Logs
  • Dressed Lumber and Similar Building Products
  • Metal Coils
  • Paper Rolls
  • Concrete Pipe Loaded Crosswise on a Platform Vehicle
  • Intermodal containers
  • Automobiles, Light Trucks, and Vans
  • Heavy Vehicles, Equipment, and Machinery
  • Flattened or Crushed Vehicles
  • Roll-on/Roll-off and Hook-Lift Containers
  • Large Boulders

Three ways to transport cargo (Section 2.2.1)

All types of cargo must meet one of three conditions:

  • Condition 1: Cargo is fully contained by structures of adequate strength.
    • Cargo cannot shift or tip
    • Cargo is restrained against horizontal movement by vehicle structure or by other cargo. Horizontal movement includes forward, rearward, and side to side.
      Note: If the cargo is contained in a sided vehicle, the vehicle structure MUST be strong enough to withstand the forces described on page 7.
      • Forward force: 0.8 g (80%)
      • Rearward force: 0.5.g (50%)
      • Sideways force: 0.5 g (50%)

Fully contained

  • Condition 2: Cargo is immobilized by structures adequate strength or a combination of structure, blocking, and bracing to prevent shifting or tipping.

Immobilized

  • Condition 3: To prevent shifting or tipping, cargo is immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by tiedowns along with:
    • Blocking.
    • Bracing.
    • Friction mats.
    • Other cargo.
    • Void fillers.
    • Combination of these. 

Secured on a vehicle

For articles of cargo placed beside each other and secured by side-to-side tiedowns:

  • Either place them in direct contact with each other
  • Or prevent them from shifting towards each other in transit by using blocking or filling the space with other cargo.

Some articles have a tendency to roll. To prevent rolling, provide more than one point of contact:

  • Lift the cargo off the deck AND/OR
  • Place chockes, wedges, a cradle, or other equivalent means that prevent rolling. These must be secured to the deck.

The method used to prevent rolling must not become unfastened or loose while the vehicle is in transit.

For articles that have a tendency to tip:

  • Prevent tipping or shifting by bracing the cargo.

Immobilizting, and Securing Cargo: Restraining the cargo correctly (Section 2.2.3.1)

How many tiedowns are required?

If cargo is not prevented from forward movement (for example, by the headboard, bulkhead, other cargo, or tiedown attached to the cargo), secure the cargo according to the following requirements:

Article Description Minimum # of Tiedowns
  • 1.52 m (5 ft) or shorter
  • 500 kg (1,100 lb.) or lighter
1


 

Article Description Minimum # of Tiedowns
  • 1.52 m (5 ft) or shorter
  • Over 500 kg (1,100 lb.)
2


 

Article Description Minimum # of Tiedowns
More than 1.52 m (5 ft) but 3.02 m (10 ft) or less 2
 
Diagram of truck cargo that is 3.65 meters (12 feet) and 600 kilograms (1320 pounds). Thus there are three tiedowns for the cargo.
 
When cargo is prevented from forward movement (for example, by the headboard, bulkhead, other cargo, or tiedown), secure the cargo according to the following requirements:
 
Article Description Minimum # of Tiedowns
All Cargo 1 tiedown for every 3.04 m (10 ft), or part thereof
 

Diagram of two truck cargo pieces. The first cargo piece is 3.65 meters (12 feet) and 600 kilograms (1320 pounds) and it has 2 tiedowns. The second cargo piece is 1.21 meters ( 4 feet) and 600 kilograms (1320 pounds) and it has one tiedown over it

Note: A vehicle transporting one or more articles of cargo such as, but not limited to, machinery or fabricated structural items (e.g., steel or concrete beams, crane booms, girders, and trusses, etc.) which, because of their design, size, shape, or weight, must be fastened by special methods.

However, any article of cargo carried on that vehicle must be securely and adequately fastened to the vehicle.

How should tiedowns be attached?

  • Tiedowns can be used in two ways:
    • Attached to the cargo
    • Tiedowns attached to the vehicle and attached to the cargo.
    • Tiedowns attached to the vehicle, pass through or aroundan article of cargo, and then are attached to the vehicle again.
  • Pass over the cargo
    • Tiedowns attached to the vehicle, passed over the cargo, and then attached to the vehicle again.

Tiedown placement

  • Place the tiedown as close as possible to the spacer.
  • Position the tiedowns as symetrically as possible over the length of the article.

Diagram of truck cargo where the two tiedowns are right next to the spacer

  • Position the tiedowns to preserve the integrity of the article.

A diagram on two pieces of truck cargo. The cargo pieces are next to each other and there are four tiedowns, one and each end of the cargo. This is a bad setup and the cargo can then move around. Another diagram show the proper positioning of the tiedowns when two cargo pieces are next to each other. This diagram has four tiedowns as well but each tiedown is right next to the spacer.

Tiedowns attached to the cargo

Tiedowns attached to the cargo work by counteracting the forces acting on the cargo. 

The angle where the tiedown attaches to the vehicle should be shallow, not deep (ideally less than 45).

To counteract forward movement, attach the tiedown so it pulls the cargo toward the rear of the vehicle.

To counteract rearward movement, attach the tiedown so it pulls the cargo toward the front of the vehicle.

A diagram of a truck with cargo tied down and a sideward movement of .5 g ( 50 percent).

To counteract movement to one side, attach the tiedown so it pulls the cargo toward the opposite side of the vehicle.

A diagram of a truck with cargo tied down and a upward movement of .2 g (20 percent).

To counteract upward movement, attach tiedowns to opposing sides of the cargo so they pull the cargo down.

Tiedowns that pass over the cargo

Tiedowns that pass over the cargo work by increasing the effective weight of the cargo (make the cargo seem heavier). This increases the pressure of the cargo on the deck and keeps the cargo from shifting.

Tension these tiedowns to as high an initial tension as possible.

The steeper the tiedown angle, the less shifting (ideally more than 45).

Four diagrams of trucks with cargo tied down. The first truck has cargo that is very tall so the tiedown angle is very close to 90 degrees. The height of the cargo will decrease for the other three trucks but even for the truck with the smallest cargo, its tiedown is still 45 degrees at a minimum.

What should you use in low-friction situations?

When there is low friction between the cargo and the deck (for example, with snow, ice, sand, gravel, and oil):

  • Use tiedowns attached to the cargo.
  • Use a means to improve the friction such as friction mats or tiedown that pass over the cargo.
  • Use blocking and tiedowns.

Containing, Immobilizing, and Securing Cargo: Using adequate securing devices

What is a Working Load Limit (WLL)?

The Working Load Limit is the maximum load that may be applied to a component of a cargo securement system during normal service.

The WLL is usually assigned by the component manufacturer.

Picture of Working Load Limit - W L L 3,000 K G 6,600 L B S
Indicator of Working Load Limit

WLL for tiedowns (Section 2.1.6)

The WLL for a tiedown is the lowest WLL of any of its parts or the WLL of the anchor points it is attached to, whichever is less. Every device contributes to the WLL of the securement system.

For a synthetic webbing tiedown, the WLL is the working load limit of the tiedown assembly or the anchor point it is attached to, whichever is less.

Note: The minimum WLL requirement for the securement system is 50%. More tiedown capacity should be used if you need to secure an article against any movement.

WLL for blocking systems (Section 2.1.5)

The WLL of all components used to block cargo from forward movement must be 50% (or more) of the weight of the article being blocked.

Containing, Immobilizing, and Securing Cargo
Using adequate securing devices (continued)

Working Load Limits: marked components (Section 2.1.6)

Some manufacturers mark their manufactured securing devices with a numeric WLL value. The WLL for these devices is equal to the numeric value assigned by the manufacturer.

Other manufacturers mark components using a code or symbol that is defined in a recognized standard. For example:

A piece of grade 7 chain may be marked with a 70 or 700, in accordance with the standard of the National Association of Chain Manufacturers. The standard then gives the WLL for that piece of chain, depending on its size.

Working Load limits: unmarked components (Section 2.1.7)

Any securing device that is not marked by the manufacturer is considered to have a WLL as specified in Appendix A: Default WLLs for Unmarked Tiedowns.

Carriers are recommended to purchase and use components that are rated and marked by their manufacturer. In that way, the carrier, driver, shipper and inspector can all verify that the proper equipment is being used for the job.

Note: Friction mats, which are not marked by the manufacturer, are assumed to provide a resistance to horizontal movement equal to 50% of the cargo weight that is resting on the mat.

Containing, Immobilizing, and Securing Cargo

Aggregate Working Load Limit (Section 2.2.3)

What is the Aggregate Working Load Limit?

The sum of the working load limits of each device used to secure an article on a vehicle is called the aggregate working load limit.

How do you calculate Aggregate Working Load Limit for tiedowns?

To calculate Aggregate Working Load limit, add together:

50% of the WLL of each end section of a tiedown that is attached to an anchor point.
50% of the WLL of each end section that is attached to the cargo.

Example:
   50% of A 
+ 50% of B
+ 50% of C 
+ 50% of D 
+ 50% of E 
+ 50% of F 
+ 50% of G
+ 50% of H
= Aggregate Working Load Limit

[Diagram of tied down truck cargo that points out the 8 points used to measure the working load limit]

Example:
   50% of A 
+ 50% of B 
+ 50% of C 
+ 50% of D
= Aggregate Working Load Limit

[Diagram of tied down truck cargo that points out the 4 points used to measure the working load limit]

Containing, Immobilizing, and Securing Cargo

Aggregate Working Load Limit (Section 2.2.3) (continued)

Example:
   50% of A 
+ 50% of B 
+ 50% of C 
+ 50% of D
= Aggregate Working Load Limit

[Diagram of tied down truck cargo that points out the 4 points used to measue the working load limit]

How much should the Aggregate Working Load Limit be?

The aggregate working load limit of any securement system must be at least 50% of the weight of the cargo being secured.

[Picture of cargo tied down on a truck]

Inspection Requirements (Section 2.3.2)

The driver is responsible for the following cargo securement inspection activities.

Driver action required Pre-Trip Within first 80 km (50 mi) When duty status of driver changes At 3 hour intervals or every 240 km (150 mi), whichever is first
Inspect Cargo and Securing devices [Check Mark] [Check Mark] [Check Mark] [Check Mark]
Inform Carrier if Packaging is Not Adequate [Check Mark]      
Adjust Cargo and/or Securing devices As necessary As necessary As necessary As necessary
Add Additional Securing devices As necessary As necessary As necessary As necessary

Inspection Requirements (Section 2.3.2) (continued)

Note: (Section 2.3.3) The inspection rules in 2.3.2 do not apply to the driver of a sealed commercial motor vehicle who has been ordered not to open it to inspect its cargo or to the driver of a commercial motor vehicle that has been loaded in a manner that makes inspection of its cargo impracticable.

Driver inspection checklist

Pre-Trip

Make sure that cargo is properly distributed and adequately secured (in other words, according to the Standard).
Make sure that all securement equipment and vehicle structures are in good working order and used consistent with their capability.
Stow vehicle equipment.
Make sure that nothing obscures front and side views or interferes with the ability to drive the vehicle or respond in an emergency.
Inform carrier if packaging is not adequate. For example:

Banding is loose or not symmetrical on package.
Banding attachment device(s) are inefficient.
Wrapping is broken or ineffective.
Pallet are broken.

Periodic inspections during transit

Inspect cargo and securing devices.
Adjust cargo or load securement devices as necessary to ensure that cargo cannot shift on or within, or fall from, the commercial motor vehicle.
As necessary, add more securing devices.

Law enforcement inspections

Law enforcement is responsible for roadside inspections in accordance with federal, state, or provincial laws.

Updated: Monday, March 17, 2014