The Hazards of Hauling Cargo

June 30, 2022

Aaron Paris highlights the hazards of hauling cargo and includes tips to help secure your next load in this months safety blog.

The Hazards of Hauling Cargo

Day in and day out, companies of all types are hauling equipment, products, and supplies to keep their operations going. Hauling cargo inherently creates risk because of the hazards created and the special consideration that must go into securing materials down. These trips need to be managed with caution and efficient inspection of securing the load.

Have you ever traveled behind a dump truck hauling gravel and had rocks pelt your vehicle and windshield? Ever seen items come off a load on the highway? These events are avoidable and create negative perceptions of the companies whose logo is on the vehicle.

Under all circumstances, loads your crew haul should remain secured on or in the transporting vehicle.

Unsecured loads put other drivers and your company at risk, including:

  • Loss of life
  • Loss of load
  • Damage to cargo
  • Damage to vehicles
  • Vehicle collisions
  • Citations or fines
  • Out-of-service orders

The following information is from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guidelines for cargo securement.


The load should be distributed and not cause the haul vehicle to be unbalanced.

Check that the vehicle’s structure and equipment are secured:

  • Tailgate
  • Doors
  • Tarpaulins
  • Spare tires
  • Other equipment used in the vehicle’s operation
  • Cargo securing equipment

Cargo must not:

  • Obscure driver’s view.
  • Interfere with free movement of driver’s arms or legs.
  • Prevent the drivers’ free and ready access to accessories required for emergencies.
  • Prevent the driver from entering or exiting the vehicle.

All cargo must be contained, immobilized, or secured.

  1. Cargo secured so that it does not:
    • Leak
    • Spill
    • Blow off vehicle
    • Fall through vehicle
    • Become dislodged
    • Shift upon or within the vehicle to cause instability or maneuverability is adversely affected
  2. Cargo immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle’s tie-downs along with:
    • Blocking
    • Bracing
    • Friction mats
    • Other cargo
    • Void fillers
    • Combination of fillers
  3.  Cargo secured with adequate securing devices.
  4. Devices secured with devices rated to a working load limit of cargo. The lowest working load between strap or anchor is the highest rating in a system.


Pre-Trip Inspection

  • Cargo distributed and secured
  • Securing equipment and vehicle structures in good working order
  • Vehicle equipment stored
  • Mirrors not obscured

Periodic Inspections During the Trip

  • Inspect cargo
  • Secure equipment
  • Make adjustments
  • Add more securing equipment

Properly securing cargo protects the company’s assets, reputation, and the safety and well-being of employees and the community.

Should your company want more information, you can read the Driver’s Handbook on Cargo Securement at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

About The Author

Aaron Paris, CSP, ASP

Aaron Paris, CSP, ASP
Email As the Director of Safety, Property & Casualty, Aaron has more than six years of experience in workplace safety and 12 years in law enforcement. Aaron consults with clients on a wide variety of safety issues such as worker safety, auto, property risk and other safety procedures. He is also authorized to teach OSHA 10- and 30- hour courses.