Under the Road Traffic Act, it is the sole responsibility of the driver to ensure the load and any ancillary equipment (e.g. the loader crane and any attachments) are securely stowed for travel.
Loader cranes and attachments should always be stowed as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Hook cranes should be folded and stowed using the designated stowing brackets.
For loader cranes fitted with a brick grab, clamshell or other attachment that prevents the crane from being folded, in the absence of manufacturer or employer instructions to the contrary:
The loader crane should be stowed in a horizontal position over the body, with the attachment resting on the vehicle bed (if the vehicle is loaded, clamping the attachment to a load is not considered as a sufficient means of security. Strapping should be used at all times).
Boom extensions should be fully retracted, as this minimises wear and tear on the components during travel and reduces any swing or whiplash effect on the loader crane when cornering.
The attachment should be opened to its widest extent and placed so that the rails / attachment sides are running fore to aft down the vehicle body.
Very importantly, the attachment should then be secured by means of a ratchet strap or equivalent, to prevent the loader crane from moving during transit and coming into contact with the vehicle sides / breaching the extremities of the vehicle. The only exception to this is where the vehicle sides are designed to withstand such forces.
Ratchet straps or equivalent must be sufficiently rated for the loader crane being secured.
Ratchet straps, ropes and all other securing means should be checked before and after each use, and should only be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
Consider the need for protection to prevent cuts / abrasion to the strapping.
Dedicated lashing points should be used. Note that all lashing or anchorage points fitted to the vehicle for use with restraining straps should be designed for that purpose and marked with a load bearing capacity.
A lorry loader was being taken to a location by a third-party delivery company. The lorry loader was fitted with a brick grab attachment and so was not folded for travel, but stowed in a horizontal position over the body, with the attachment resting on the vehicle bed.
The boom extensions had not been fully retracted, which increased the swing or whiplash effect on the loader crane when cornering.
The driver of the vehicle had not received training on the requirement to strap down the loader crane and so it was not secured.
The lorry loader turned a corner at speed, which led to the crane slewing over the side of the vehicle bed. The crane struck two structures on the pavement before making contact with an occupied, parked vehicle.
Fortunately, no one was injured, but the incident could have easily resulted in a fatality.
The driver has since been trained in the requirements and methods of strapping down the loader crane, and the company has revised its procedures.
Please click here to view an animated reconstruction of this incident.
ALLMI provides comprehensive training for operators of lorry loaders, which includes a module on securing the loader crane for travel.
The ALLMI course is widely regarded as the UK’s most recognised lorry loader operator programme and it is delivered via ALLMI’s network of accredited training providers. To find a training provider in your area, please click here.
ALLMI also provides training for other members of the lorry loader lifting team, as well as engineers, instructors, and managers. Please click here for details.