Confusion over how freight should be adequately restrained has raised concerns that Vosa will penalise operators with otherwise unblemished safety records, according to a haulage boss.
Last year Vosa announced it was cracking down on unsecured freight and had trained officers to spot potentially dangerous loads, but there remain concerns over whether goods are considered safe or not.
Barry Dorling, at Bury St Edmunds-based Barry J Dorling Transport, said he was struggling to find guidance that explained how his freight should be tied down and he feared his OCRS could be affected.
“It’s extremely concerning,” he said. “Vosa thinks it can wipe the problem away with rules like this, which are unfairly implemented at the roadside.
“How do you put a strap on dry freight goods?” he added. “If there’s any pressure on a journey it will crunch down and loosen the strap, which will come undone and lose tension. I am proud to be a green light operator. As a CPC holder, you have to try and address it. I just want to learn about it, address it and stay legal.”
Richard Owens, group marketing manager at Don-Bur, said confusion had arisen because of the interpretation of official Department for Transport guidelines, which has led to “assumptions, rumour and misdirection”.
He said: “The overriding ethos is to ensure that all loads are strapped down to the deck with rave-to-rave anchors, ensuring that the load always maintains contact with the bed of the vehicle, irrespective of curtains.” Owens added that Don-Bur is offering a Load-Fix compliant system, providing rave-to-rave strapping or sheeting depending on individual requirements.
A Vosa spokesman said that between 1 April and 31 August this year officers had detected 1,269 loads restrain defects, which resulted in 1,190 prohibitions.