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Cargo Securement Ranks as Number Three for Most OOS Violations

06.27.2019 - 10:00 AM Comments: 0

Cargo Securement Ranks as Number Three for Most OOS Violations

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) reports that during last year’s International Roadcheck Blitz, 13% of Out Of Service (OOS) violations were attributed to cargo securement. Preceding cargo securement, brake issues came in as the number 1 spot with 45% of violations, while tire and wheels were the second biggest violator at 19%.

While brakes, wheel, and tire violations require updating or buying new equipment, improper securement is one of the top reasons for violations of cargo securement. However, damaged securement systems or improper securement of hazardous materials is a grave concern, given the threat it poses to communities and the environment. This makes cargo securement violations one of the most expensive OOS violations. To make matters worse, more than 25% of cargo securement violations are related to improper securement of these hazardous materials. 

Furthermore, hazardous material violations are much more expensive and more punitive than the average violation. According to PHMSA, “Violations of any hazardous materials regulations including training may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $27,500 for each violation and, in appropriate cases, a criminal penalty of up to $500,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 5 years.” 

Preventative measures to ensure cargo securement

So, how can you avoid the third most repeated OOS violation? The main way is by taking preventative measures. Here are just some of the avenues you can take to make sure you stay out of prison and keep money in your pocket. 

  1. Use a strap protector: just throwing a strap across an item is still not secure no matter how strong the strap is; especially if the object has a sharp or jagged edge. For example, the vibrations from traveling can make the object cut into the strap. Instead, you can use strap protectors (which are required anyway) that protect against abrasion. 
  2. Make sure your device is not damaged: If the device used to secure cargo itself is damaged, then it cannot be counted toward the overall securement, which can lead to an out of service violation. 
  3. Use plenty of tie-downs: Many cargo violations happen because flatbed drivers don’t use enough tie-downs. The amount of tie-downs required is based on the weight and length of the cargo, and if there are any cargo-specific requirements for that cargo, such as coils or dressed building supplies. 
  4. Periodically check on the equipment: A driver can save himself from any number of violations if he checks on the securement throughout his drive. By checking for abrasions or weak attachment points, he can use a new strap or re-secure the cargo long before he even hits a checkpoint.
  5. Understand your equipment: If you become a pro at the type of equipment you mostly deal with and know the characteristics and weight of the load you’re transporting, and the regulations associated with it, you will always know which kind of securement to use. 
  6. Study: reading up on cargo securement length and weight regulations will let you know the formula for aggregating cargo control, understanding the types of controls or securement needed for each specific cargo, and more. 

In 2018, over 18,000 cargo securement violations were attributed to either a complete lack of or improper load securement, whereas over 16,000 violations were attributed to failing to secure vehicle equipment. The third biggest violation was leaking, spilling, and falling cargo, while the fourth was insufficient tie-downs. Each of these violations break a specific regulatory code PHMSA but can be easily avoided through preventative measures.

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