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Load Securement: What You Need to Know

By Christy Linn
Published: November 3, 2015 | Last updated: August 31, 2020
Presented by SOAR Solutions Inc.
Key Takeaways

The basics of load securement and transport.

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What is Load Securement?

Load or cargo is defined by section 2(e) of the Cargo Securement Regulations as: “all articles of material carried by a vehicle, including those used in the operation of the vehicle, but does not include passengers.”

A securement system includes: vehicle structure, blocking and bracing equipment, and securing devices. Securement of the load means it is safely attached to the vehicle hauling it.


Why is Load Securement a Concern?

Loads that are improperly secured can pose a traffic obstruction if they fall onto the road. Accidents can result from cargo that falls, tilts, sticks out or is toxic.

Depending on the type of load, it can pose personal or environmental hazards if it is improperly contained.

If the load shifts, but does not come off the vehicle, it can still be a traffic hazard, as it may result in the vehicle becoming unstable or hard to steer.

Who Polices Load Securement?

The North American Cargo Securement Standard is a co-operative project of Canada and the United States. It is jointly administered by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

The agreement was last amended in June of 2013.

Compliance with the standards for load securement in North America is checked in random stops by Commercial Vehicle Inspectors.


What “Cargo” does the Regulations Apply to?

Load securement regulations apply to:

  • A vehicle transporting cargo on a highway within the province
  • A vehicle that exceeds a registered gross vehicle weight of 4500 kilograms
  • Cargo transported by an intermodal container

Download this FREE Checklist to help ensure your load is secure!

Who is Responsible for Load Security?

The securement system -- vehicle structure, blocking and bracing equipment, and securing devices -- are the responsibility of both the carrier and the driver.

The equipment must be maintained and operated by carriers and drivers. This means the equipment needed to secure the load must be in good working order, with no obvious signs of damage or weakness. Moreover, it must be the security needed for a load of specified weight capacity. This means the load securement equipment must be capable of performing the job, strong enough to contain, immobilize, and secure the cargo if it is subjected to forces like: braking, accelerating, making a turn and climbing a hill.

A carrier must not allow a driver to operate a vehicle if the cargo is not considered to be secure.

A driver shall not operate a vehicle where the cargo transported in or on the vehicle is not in compliance with the North American Cargo Securement Standard.

The cargo must be secured so that the load does not leak, shift, spill, blow off, fall from, fall through or otherwise be dislodged from the vehicle, or shift to such a degree that it makes the vehicle’s stability, or its maneuver ability is adversely affected.

What Vehicles are Covered by Cargo Securement Standards

The North American Cargo Securement Standard covers commercial vehicles operated on a highway with a gross vehicle rating over 4,500 kg (10,000 pounds).

How is a Vehicle Judged Properly Secured?

The following conditions must be met in order for a load to be deemed secured:

  • The vehicle's cargo is properly distributed and adequately secured. This includes: tailgate, tarpaulin, cargo securing equipment, spare tire, all other equipment used in operating the vehicle
  • The cargo must not obscure the driver’s view, interfere with the driver’s movement of his/her arms or legs, prevent the driver's free and ready access to accessories required for emergencies or inhibit or prevent the driver’s exit from the cab
  • Securement equipment must be able to prevent load shift or falling during forward force, rearward force, sideways force or upward force

What Equipment is Considered Part of Securement?

Securement equipment includes such devices as: wire rope, chains, webbing, grab hooks, binders, winches, shackles, tie downs, friction mat, cordage, blocking, or bracing.

What if Load Securement is not Correct?

If the load securement equipment is deemed to be defective, or fails to meet the North American Cargo Securement Standard that includes the anchor points on the truck or trailer.

Failure to secure cargo can have serious repercussions including:

  • Loss of the life of the driver, other drivers, passengers, pedestrians
  • Total or partial loss of load or damage of cargo
  • Destruction or damage to the vehicle and/or to other vehicles with which it collides
  • Destruction of highway and/or personal property
  • Citations or fines to either driver or carrier or both
  • The vehicle being placed an Out-of-Service status resulting in loss of business.

How Can Drivers and Carriers be Informed and Educated about Load Securement Standards?

Lack of knowledge or understanding of the rules is not a legitimate excuse.

In an effort to increase road safety and make drivers and carriers more knowledgeable about their responsibilities when it comes to cargo securement, The North American Cargo Securement Standard and other commercial vehicle safety organizations run awareness campaigns including course, workshops, informational materials, online information sites and public awareness events.

In June each year, there is a three-day truck inspection marathon. This event is known as International Roadcheck. Ten thousand North American truck inspectors check vehicles, hand out fines and place trucks and drivers out-of-service if there are safety violations including load securement breaches.

Drivers and carriers should have a copy of the cargo securement handbook, Practical Cargo Securement: Guidelines for Drivers, Carriers & Shippers. This book contains regulations for both Canada and USA. These can be purchased from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance US $30.

What Penalties Might Result from Failure to Properly Secure Cargo?

If commercial vehicle cargo is deemed to be unsecured or improperly secured or equipment is not present or not in working order truck inspectors can:

  • Fine the driver and/or the carrier
  • Place the vehicle and/or the driver “Out Of Service” until cargo securement equipment and/or procedures are corrected
  • Permanently removed the vehicle from the road
  • Suspend the carrier’s license to operate cargo vehicles

Download this FREE Checklist to help ensure your load is secure!


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Written by Christy Linn

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Christy Linn, Vice President, Business Development and Finance, co-founded SOAR Solutions in June 2012 to offer customers a comprehensive solution that uses web-based fleet, safety and operations software along with experienced professionals to support our customers’ data collection, entry process, analysis and reporting process. Responsible for strategy, marketing, and finance, Ms. Linn has over 15 years experience in communications, management, finance, and branding.
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