Fit to be Tied: New Cargo Securement Rules

by Tire groups lobby for reserve pressure capacity requirement for tires

Pay attention. The following information can save you money. New legislation regarding cargo comes into affect January this week, beginning Jan. 1, 2005, and if you don’t adhere to the rules, you can be fined. Here is a basic overview.

These new nation-wide, Canadian-made regulations apply to all vehicles with gross vehicle weight, gross-vehicle weight rating, or gross combination weight rating of more than 4,500 kg. They mirror the North American Cargo Securement Standard that has been in the U.S. since January 2004.

While all Canadian jurisdictions are implementing the new Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) standard, Alberta and Quebec will delay the regs-Quebec until March, and Alberta likely no earlier than in February. The provinces will have an educational period in effect until July 2005, at which times violations would be enforced through fines. Violations that pose a clear and present safety risk are enforceable immediately, however.

All cargo must be immobilized or secured so that it can’t: leak; spill; blow; fall from the vehicle; fall through the vehicle; or otherwise become dislodged, shift upon or within the vehicle so that the vehicle’s stability or maneuverability is affected.

Loads must be secured to withstand all maneuvers your truck might make short of a crash. This includes all evasive steering or hard braking.

Drivers will need to know what they can tie down to a trailer as well as the strengths of the tie-down points.

With vans, the expectation will be on the shipper to ensure that what is loaded in the van is tied down so it does not shift. And if anyone uses the walls of a trailer or van to secure freight, they must ensure the walls are strong enough to withstand the load.

Anybody who works in securement must know not only how to secure a load, but also be able to explain why it is secured in a specific way. These people will be expected to use only securement devices that have a known working load limit and are in workable condition. All tie-down points must also have a working load limit as well.

Personnel must be familiar with a vehicle’s Cargo Securement System, which includes anything used to restrain the load and consists of but is not limited to the vehicle itself, blocking and bracing, all securement devices (straps, chain, etc.). Headache racks cannot be used as part of the load securement system.
The cargo-securement system must secure the load from forward motion, backward motion, moving sideways, tipping over, upward motion, and finally, it must ensure that parts of a load don’t fall off during transport. (For example, it’s against the law if a piece falls off, say, a wrecked car being carried on a trailer.)

Restraints must be used within their capabilities meaning that they have to be used only to secure items within their working load limit. Nylon straps, for example, must be tagged with a working load limit or used based on a 1,000 lb per inch of width of the strap. (4 inch wide strap good for 4,000 lb.) The straps must be in good shape with no cuts or abrasions and no damage from heat or chemical corrosion.

The new rules apply no matter how far you’re carrying the cargo.
Shippers must ensure all packages are strong enough to withstand forces during transport. This would include all cross docking and weather conditions that may be encountered during transport. They must also secure all cargo that needs to be restrained at the time of loading and the drivers are not present.

Drivers must, as far as is reasonably practical, inspect all banding, wrapping and pallets to ensure they are in good repair and secure all unsecured cargo before moving the load. Drivers are also responsible for inspecting cargo during transport to ensure securement devices still in good shape and securing the load.

Most experts recommend that this become part of a pre-trip inspection but also that the driver periodically re-inspect his or her cargo during the trip, especially during the early part of the haul, to ensure the tie-downs are doing their job.

As much as possible, the new standards are based on common load practices, to make the transition to the new system as smooth as possible. Still, industry watchers recommend employees get trained for the new regulations.

The formal training program developed by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) has three basic modules that explain the regulations and basic physics of load securement. These three modules are designed for everybody involved in load securement and other, more specific training is available for 11 other areas, including logs (poles), lumber, metal coils, paper rolls, concrete pipe loaded crosswise, intermodal containers, autos, light trucks and vans, heavy vehicle equipment machinery, flattened/crushed cars, roll-on/roll-off containers, and large boulders.

Go to to download the entire rule.

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