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Safely securing loads of trucks

Securing truck loads using over-centre tensioning devices (known as 'dogs') with extension or 'cheater' bars is dangerous. The film explains how to control the risks when securing loads on trucks using safer devices.

Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 248 MB)

On Screen Text: Safely securing loads on trucks

Voice over: Securing truck loads using over-centre tensioning devices (known as dogs) with extension or cheater bars is dangerous.

They are cheap and widely used, but cause serious injury when they kick back and hit workers.

In one case, a worker had his leg broken when the chain dog he was releasing flicked back and hit him. Another incident left a worker blind in one eye and led to a $40,000 fine for his employer.

Around 80 per cent of workers in the transport industry have reported they have had an incident with a dog and cheater bar, or know someone who has.

Using dogs and cheater bars also increases the risk of shoulder and back strains and sprains, because of the repetitive and forceful actions needed to use them.

You can easily reduce risks when securing loads on trucks by using an alternative load restraint device.


Assess suitability of device

Voice over: Choose the load restraint device most suited to the typical loads that you will be carrying and fit out your truck to suit.

For example:

  • Synthetic tensioning devices are good for contained or symmetrical loads such as timber pallets, blocks and pavers, and wrapped pallets.
  • Chains might be needed for loads such as structural steel or machinery.

The National Transport Commission's Load Restraint Guide outlines basic safety principles for selecting a suitable load restraint device.


Consider the restraint device being used

Voice over: Safer restraint systems include ratchet straps, load binders, and automated binder systems.

Ratchet straps and load binders are designed to not flick back and strike workers.

Ratchets allow you to make fine adjustments and use less force when securing your load. Dogs and cheater bars do not allow exact tensioning, so the chain is likely to be too tight or too loose.

Over-tensioning is a serious issue too because workers who receive the load could be injured when releasing the load tensioning device. The level of force required to release a load restraint device may also change when loads shift during transit.

Automatic load binders may be expensive to install, but will vastly improve the safety and efficiency of loading and unloading, particularly for delivery runs requiring frequent stops.


Maintain your restraint device

Voice over: Drivers should keep their restraint devices in good condition.

  • check fabrics frequently for fraying and general wear and tear
  • clean the device and make sure it works correctly
  • ensure tags are current.


Training and competency

Voice over: Workers should be trained and competent to select and use the right restraint device for the loads they are transporting. They should be trained to correctly tighten and release tension in the device, and understand how to keep it in good condition.

Securing loads on trucks using dogs and cheater bars is dangerous. Choose alternative load restraint devices to keep your workers safe.

Work safe. Home safe.


When securing loads on trucks:

  • assess your load type and use the safest restraint device
  • know how to tension and release the device safely
  • keep your restraint devices in good condition
  • train your workers to select and use the right restraint device for the task.

RUN TIME: 3 min 32 sec