The truck loading code - general requirements


The correct loading of heavy vehicles is vital in the prevention of injury to drivers and members of the public and the prevention of damage to materials and equipment.

Vehicle loads must be sufficiently restrained to prevent movement from the forces arising from the vehicle passing over road undulations, changing direction or when it is being braked or accelerated. It requires much more force to stop a load that has started moving than it does to prevent the movement in the first place. It is essential that the load is restrained to prevent movement in any direction relative to the vehicle. Friction between the load and the vehicle platform cannot be relied on to make a load secure. Dynamic forces will tend to exceed such frictional forces and render a load insecure. It is therefore necessary to provide additional restraint to prevent the load moving. This restraint is normally provided by means of lashings secured to the vehicle chassis and load platform or by various baulking arrangements such as loading racks, headboards and chocks.

This code of practice for the safe loading of heavy vehicles has been prepared to provide owners, drivers, operators and loading staff with guidance in the basic safety principles that must be followed generally, and in particular the precautions that must be taken to ensure the safe carriage of a number of the more common types of load, including containers, pallets, construction equipment, logs and sawn timber. Other methods of securing loads are acceptable, providing a certifying engineer has certified the system.Tests may also have to be conducted to confirm that the security of the load meets the criteria specified.

The code provides a range of valuable information based on proven good practices in this field and has been influenced particularly by the increasingly higher performance capabilities of modern vehicles.


The skill is not only in the driving of the truck but also in the safe securing of the load.


  • make sure your vehicle's load space and the condition of its load platform are suitable for the type and size of the load
  • make use of adequate load anchorage points
  • make sure you have enough lashings and that they are in good condition and strong enough to secure your load
  • tighten up the lashings or other restraining devices
  • make sure that the front of the load is abutted against the front rack or headboard, or other fixed restraint
  • use wedges and chocks so that your load cannot move
  • make sure that loose bulk loads cannot fall or be blown off your vehicle.


  • overload your vehicle or its individual axles
  • load your vehicle too high
  • use rope hooks to restrain heavy loads
  • forget that the size, nature and position of your load will affect the handling of your vehicle
  • forget to check your load:
    • before moving off
    • after you have travelled 25km and periodically thereafter, such as at tyre checks
    • every time you remove or add items to your load during your journey
    • after emergency braking or an excessively sharp or violent manoeuvre
  • take risks
  • move the vehicle if any part of the load is not secured
  • leave loose wedges, lashings, chock and dunnage, etc lying on the vehicle deck once the load has been removed.


Study the more detailed advice given in this code of practice on the safe loading of heavy vehicles.

If you are in doubt about the safety of your load, seek guidance from another experienced person.

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Last updated: 16 July 2014