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QTPA Member Alert |Load restraint study in the transport industry

Load restraint study in the transport industry

A Workplace Health and Safety Queensland study has confirmed that over-centre type load tensioning devices (dogs) and extension (cheater) bars are a serious risk for workers in the transport industry.

Dogs and cheater bars are widely used load restraint devices despite the fact that serious injuries have been caused by these devices when they kick back and strike workers.

Alternative load restraint devices with a much lower risk of causing serious or fatal injuries are available, but there had been no assessment of the other risks they pose. In particular, the transport industry had raised concerns that these devices could result in musculoskeletal injuries.

The study looked into the potential musculoskeletal disorder and impact risks associated with the use of 8mm in-line chain tensioners. It also included a data review, industry surveys and focus group work.

The study recommended the development of truck-mounted, below tray, load restraint devices so that work can be done with the hands between waist and shoulder height when standing on the ground. These devices should have release mechanisms that do not permit the sudden and uncontrolled release of the load, as well as tension indicators.

As well, the design of in-line chain tensioners should be improved and the use of dogs and cheater bars discouraged, in line with existing warnings from WHSQ.

Finally, the study recommended further research projects to investigate the levels of force required to release a load restraint device when the chain lashing tension has increased due to load shift and to determine the number of load binder incidents in relation to overall transport industry injuries.

The study acknowledged that implementing these recommendations would require time and collaboration between WHSQ, workers, suppliers and manufacturers.

Securing loads has been a persistent problem in the industry but there are simple steps workplaces can take to reduce the risks involved while loading and unloading trucks:

• Eliminate the need for gates by using approved load bearing curtains.

• Reduce risks by using hanging, sliding or swinging gates that lock into the vehicle.

• Make sure curtains slide easily, check for tripping hazards, and walk slowly so the curtain moves smoothly.

• Use a load securing system that does not require the worker to use lashings.

• Reduce the risk by using an elevated work platform to ensure workers do not climb onto the truck to pull straps over the load.

• Use webbing straps as an alternative to chains, and if chains are required, avoid using an over-centre lever load binder or an extension bar to increase load tension. Consider using a turnbuckle non-rebounding tensioner.

Further information

For more information, visit or call 1300 362 128.



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