Unsecured or inadequately secured loads in the transportation industry are more than just a nuisance that causes damaged freight – unsecured loads can kill. That’s why there are state and federal regulations on securing freight.
A recent fatal incident in Washington State is a perfect illustration of this point.
A 47-year-old truck driver was struck by a 1,500-pound bale of recycled cardboard when it fell on him after he opened the doors to his loaded trailer.
The bales were stacked three-high and aligned with the center of the trailer.
When the driver arrived near the loading dock at the delivery location, he opened one door and chained it to the side of the trailer, then went to do the same for the other door.
As he opened the door, a stack of bales became unstable and two bales fell out, killing him from blunt force injuries to his torso.
Investigators found the employer provided straps to secure the bales, but they weren’t used.
Washington State’s WAC 296-865-30020(1) says employers must make sure all loads transported on trucks and trailers are properly secured and distributed.
Likewise, according to federal regulation 49 CFR 392.9 (Subpart A) all commercial motor vehicles must comply with the requirements of the “Inspection of cargo, cargo securement devices and systems,” and 49 CFR 393 Subpart I “Protection Against Shifting and Falling Cargo.”