Load securing requirements at VOSA roadside checks

HSE research shows that unsafe vehicle loads cost the UK millions of pounds in each year. Vehicles carrying unrestrained loads are also a serious safety risk to their drivers and other road users.

From April 2012, VOSA has been focusing on identifying high-risk loads, with enforcement examiners previously having received new training on the issue. The aim is to promote clarity and consistency for operators in the enforcement of load securing.

VOSA has produced a matrix (see below) to help examiners assess load securing methods. The matrix distinguishes between types of load and categories of severity for assessing load securing.

Any problems concerning the securing of the load will be assessed against the matrix and may result in a Prohibition or an advisory notice (A). VOSA say that, wherever possible, minor problems will be dealt with through advice rather than enforcement action.

The Construction & Use Regs indicate that loads must be secured and if necessary by physical restraint. VOSA has stated that operators currently complying with the C&U Regs should see no difference in VOSA’s enforcement policy.

Draft VOSA Matrix on Load Security Assessment

The following vehicle body types should be assessed for load security:

  • Flatbeds, curtain‐siders, lowloaders, skip lorries, car transporters, bulk tippers

The following vehicle body types do not need to be assessed for load security unless there is reason for concern:

  • Box‐siders, refrigerated trailers, containers transported on vehicles fitted with twist locks, tilts, live animal transporters

Type A

Type B

Type C

Metal pipes, sheet or bar



Reinforced concrete

FIBCs/bulk powder

Wood chip

Bricks, stone or concrete

Roll cages

Waste paper

Vehicles (including scrap)

Bagged aggregate

Coal bags

Plant machinery

Empty skips stacked 3 high

Bulk material (in tipper)

Reels (steel, wire or paper)

Heavy palletised goods (1)

Packaging material

Kegs and barrels

Single loaded skips

Stacked loaded skips

Empty skips < 3 high

Empty skips stacked > 3 high

Light palletised goods (2)

Metal castings

Containers/work cabins


Category 1

Category 2

Category 3

No load securing

>30cm gap between load and vehicle headboard (5)

Lashings on ropehooks (6)

>1m gap between front of load and vehicle headboard(3)

Unsheeted load in bulk tipper or skip

Minor damage to headboard not affecting structural integrity

Unstable load affecting vehicle stability or likely to topple from vehicle

Inadequate load securing leading to likely risk of harm

Unsuitable load securing

Severe structural damage to headboard or gaps in headboard that would allow load penetration

Unsuitable stacking of load items likely to lead to risk of harm

Poor condition of securing equipment

Items loaded over height of headboard (4)

Height of load likely to affect vehicle stability

Unsuitable vehicle for load


Load type

Defect category
















For advice on any transport law issues, please contact Jared Dunbar at Dyne Solicitors on 01829 773 100.

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