Ratchet Straps and the Law

Ratchet Straps and the Law
Posted in: Blog

Ratchet Straps and the Law

Ratchet Straps And The Law - What You Need to Know

Ratchet straps are a really great way to secure loads to vehicles before moving items from A to B. They ensure the safety of the driver and the passengers, as well as any other road users who they meet along the way, so it is really important that they are used safely and properly. For this reason there are several laws in place surrounding their usage. Before you start your journey, it’s a good idea to be familiar with them.

Who is responsible for ratchet strap usage?

Despite often being the one to physically secure the load with ratchet straps, the driver is not the only person responsible for the safety of the vehicle and its transportation. 

Everybody in the transport chain should make themselves aware of the rules set out in the DfT code of practice regarding the safety of loads on vehicles to ensure that they are properly utilised. 

Are employers liable for improper ratchet strap usage?

The Health & Safety At Work Act of 1974 states the following: “Employers must take ‘reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of both their own employees and other people who might be harmed if a load shift happens on the road or in the workplace".

“They must assess the risks of what they do and provide suitable equipment, information, and training so that drivers and loaders can load vehicles safely”.

 This is supported by The Provision & Use Of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998 (PUWER) that states that “work equipment must be fit for purpose, maintained and inspected to spot damage before it affects the safety of the equipment, and used only by people who have received appropriate training and information”. 

This shows that employers must ensure proper training is given to their employees about the usage of ratchet straps, as they are liable for improper use.

However, if you are the one responsible for loading the vehicle, you must absolutely make sure that you know how to properly use ratchet straps safely and securely, so the load remains in a safe condition during all 3 stages; loading, transit and unloading.

What are the laws about how to use ratchet straps?

The law states that your ratchet straps need to be strong enough to support the loads they are carrying. With that in mind, before securing any load for transportation you need to know it’s weight and how that corresponds to the load limit of the ratchet straps that you’re using. You should also take into reasonable consideration things like tension force.

Put simply, if the straps are not strong enough then you’re breaking the law if you use them. You should be able to find this information on the label of your ratchet strap. It will be noted down as the ‘lashing capacity’ (LC).

What are the risks of improper ratchet strap usage?

As mentioned above, by law everybody involved in the transportation chain needs to be fully up to speed with how to properly use ratchet straps. If there is an issue at any point then you risk a damaged reputation. More seriously, it could result in death or serious injury and you and the company could be liable for negligence. 

How can I keep up to date with ratchet strap laws?

Laws are fast-changing and we know it can be difficult to keep up to date. The DVSA regularly updates its ‘Moving On’ blog which gives official advice and information for lorry, bus and van operators and drivers, which may be useful. The trade associations also provide regular updates.

If you’re looking for high-quality ratchet straps and other equipment, please get in touch with us today.

1 July 2020