Christmas-Special 2012

This load of lumber is indeed a sight to behold. One of the fundamental problems in the field of load-securing is inadequate packaging. In this case, it is the catastrophic way in which load units have been formed. The lumber has a square cross-section which, by nature, has a tendency to roll, and has not been combined to form stable load units. Stable dunnage below, above and between the lumber would have made a considerable improvement. Why the individual small packages have been stacked on end within the load unit remains a mystery to this simple load-securing columnist. Stanchions on the sides would have provided support for the load, which looks in dire need of such assistance. Central stanchions are particularly suitable for loads such as this, as they allow the cargo to be loaded as a tight fit and provide the possibility of direct securing and unproblematic loading and unloading using a forklift truck.

So they all rolled over and…

… well, we know the rest. Perhaps we shall prove our critics right today. We do occasionally tend towards sarcasm in this monthly column. But in our Christmas specials we allow ourselves that liberty. And the title above is taken from the well-known children’s rhyme. We are sure you will forgive us this time. But what on earth are we meant to write about this thoroughly bizarre loading method? Okay, we’ll have a go.

The load is liable to roll and has been loaded with the rolling axis perpendicular to the vehicle. To start with, this means that no friction is acting in the direction of travel (other than rolling friction, which is negligible). We cannot say whether there is a tight fit to the front, but we can with certainty say that the end wall is incapable of securing the entire load in the direction of travel. You can see from the cladding, that has already begun to disintegrate, that the cable reels are not able to withstand such loads. But that is merely incidental. An added problem is that the reels have been loaded in such a way that there is a considerable gap between the two rows. This makes it difficult to secure the load well. The wedges and lumber that can be seen on the loading area serve only to load the reels safely, and cannot be regarded as a means of securing the load. Firstly, wedges used for securing loads in the direction of travel must be pipe wedges that have been cut correctly, and secondly, such wedges must be at least 1/8th of the height of the load that is being secured. One sensible securing measure would be to secure the reels directly to the front and rear in the direction of travel through the eyes of the reels. Tip: A particularly good method of securing these reels would be to pass robust steel rods or pipes through the eye of the reel, and then attach direct lashings to these. This can facilitate matters considerably. If the reels are placed side-by-side as a tight fit, this enables the load to be secured well to the sides. If the pipes described above protrude from the eyes of the reels, a length of squared lumber could be placed on top of them in the direction of travel. Loop lashings to the sides could then be made over these beams between every group of four or six reels. But there is no limit to the imagination. Practitioners on the ground often come up with far better ways of securing the load.


Do-it-yourselfers are generally in a hurry. The weekend, which they spend building and renovating in their future or present homes, is simply far too short. Their families placed demands on them and, not only that, they still have to pick up the cement mixer from the father-in-law. And for those couple of miles, you don’t really need to secure the load. Anyway, the belts are still at home somewhere. But it would be a pity if father-in-law’s cement mixer was scattered over the next crossroads in tiny pieces. After all, he can be so petty. Perhaps it would be better to secure it after all!

Pick-up sticks

Securing a load to the rear is often given little attention. People tend to be more aware of the need to take steps to prevent a load shifting forward or to the side, but what about to the rear?

Mr. Scholz has sent us some excellent photographs, for which we thank him. The load was made up of 51 rolls of carpet standing on end. Or at least they were still standing when they were loaded. That universal panacea of the load-securing world, the retaining board, was once again used to secure the load to the rear. As such, retaining boards are a great boon if you want to stop the top of extremely light loads from tipping. but, leaving that aside, these rolls of carpet had a total weight of some 6 tonnes and so it is somewhat of a joke to expect them to stay in place while being jiggled about on the road and held in place by a retaining board, attached to side boards which, to add insult to injury, were also only made of wood.

If you wish to transport this type of load on end, then it must be made into a sensible load unit rather than being left loose and counting on the poor driver to make sure they don’t topple over. The responsibility for securing the load so that it is safe to be handled and taken on the roads lies with the shipper. So this is not the way to do it. The "load securing equipment" probably failed the first or second time the truck pulled away, and you can’t really blame it.

"Child seat"

Child seats do not really belong in our load-securing column, even if they are loads. And there is even a belt on it. We shall refrain from further comment…

Wood burner

Wood-burning stoves are in again. They are CO2- neutral and save heating costs. So far so good. "The more the better" may be true when it comes to heating, but not when it comes to transportation. It is fair to question whether this load would be able to withstand all the acceleration forces covered by our guidelines. At the very least, we might have expected a little more "respect" for one’s own chainsaw and a little more care when loading and securing it. If we had taken a closer look, we would undoubtedly have found a way of securing this load more safely. Of course, the best way would be to take two trips.

Building on safety

A magnificent irony: A sticker from the trade association with the slogan "Building on safety" on the tailgate becomes deeply ironic when glimpsed in combination with this load and the way it is secured. To be honest, our most hardened load-securing columnists were pretty well lost for words when confronted with this. Once again, the loading and securing were a measure of the value of the load. It is scrap, and if it falls off it is still scrap. And anyone driving headlong into it is also likely to become …

It is also worth taking a look at the front of the vehicle. So stuffed with scrap that it looks like a pregnant cow. And the fact that the vehicle has stopped just here is the result of a technical failure, which is hardly surprising given the state of it. We will make do without a more detailed analysis. Our wish for you in the new year is that you will no longer meet catastrophes such as this on the roads.


The truck and its load were intended for export. The tipping mechanism of the truck must have been activated, presumably as a result of carelessness or some mishap. Which was a pity for the vehicle that was loaded on the back and for the computers it contained. We wish the jinxed driver better luck next time and we wish our loyal readers a safe journey, good load-securing and that they always return home safe and sound.

Enjoy reading our column in the new year as well!

Hard coal

Hard coal fully deserves its name. In this case it is being transported thoroughly economically, making use of the entire loading capacity of the truck. Of course, it is always a good idea to transport goods economically, but tolerating a certain amount of loss during transportation could mean that other road users are left to pick up the pieces.

Insbesondere wenn Verkehrsteilnehmer auf den üblichen Kopfschutz (Helm) verzichten, ist die Gefahr zum Greifen nah.

Plastic drinks bottles

Here, it would appear that a vehicle originally designed for transporting bulk goods (gravel, sand, etc.) is being used to transport plastic drinks bottles. In principle, there is no reason why this should not be done. The side and end walls are robust and capable of fully securing the load if it is loaded as a tight fit.

But there is one prerequisite: The load units must be stable and loaded in such a way that their center of gravity is well below the top of the side walls. In this interesting example, this is not the case. The load has been stacked to form a slight pyramid and the load-securing relies 100% on friction.

For reasons unknown to us, the large load-securing net hanging over the rear fender was, unfortunately, not used. Undoubtedly, there will be regular readers of this column who will mock and claimed that a net would only act as a tie-down lashing and that we columnists usually heap scorn on this. That is correct! If the load is heavy and there is no tight fit to the front, the effectiveness of a tie-down lashing is quickly exhausted. But in this case, we shall, for argument’s sake, assume that there is a tight fit to the front and also hope that the plastic sacks have a relatively high coefficient of friction. In this event, a great deal could be achieved with a tie-down lashing, even if the ropes had to be pre-tensioned by hand. As soon as the load slipped forward into the net, additional tight-fit effects would arise, that should not be underestimated. To the rear, a net would achieve excellent tight-fit effects with this almost exemplary stepped method of loading. But unfortunately, the net was dispensed with in this case.

Tight fit

The load in this transport arrangement is expanded polystyrene. Securing loads as light as this is often somewhat problematic. Although the material is light and cannot withstand the mechanical loads applied by load-securing equipment, it is nevertheless essential for it to be secured effectively. In this case, the load has been "effectively" secured against floating away. Unfortunately, the board that was intended to distribute the pressure has slipped, and the load securing equipment has, as a result, cut into the load. Vehicles with a tarpaulin and roof bows are equally suitable for transporting loads like this as the beloved curtainsider. Direct securing generally requires a lot of effort, and can only be achieved with excellent pressure distribution using equipment that cannot slip.

A different case of expanded polystyrene being transported. It may be that pressure distribution has been achieved more successfully in this example. But perhaps it is just that the pre-tensioning force applied was lower. But, dear readers, we should like to draw your attention to the entire picture that this load presents. We only hope that the driver of this vehicle does not encounter any crosswinds. And certainly not if he meets oncoming traffic, which is far, far larger and heavier.

Load distribution

Unfortunately, we do not know what was loaded on this vehicle. It has been well stacked, but it is impossible to say whether there is a tight fit to the front. At least the topmost package is secured by the driver’s elbow. For his part, the driver has positioned himself rather cleverly, because his left, rear tire appears to need air urgently. Indeed, it is flat. This cunning method of load distribution with the driver sitting way out to the right, reduces the load on the wheel to the maximum possible extent. To tell the truth, we had always understood the term "load distribution" to mean something entirely different until today…

Rock ’n roll

If these rocks were cemented together to form a single load unit, there would not be any difficulty with this method of securing the load. Always assuming that the friction between the rocks and the loading area is as high as any acceleration forces that might occur, which is actually rather unlikely.

© KLSK e.V.