Spot checks on hundreds of vehicles will take place in the coming weeks in support of a new drive to ensure that loads are being transported securely.
The Health and Safety Executive’s new load safety campaign is focused on reducing the number of death and injuries linked to workplace transport.
Loading and unloading accounts for one in five workplace transport incidents- many resulting from loads not being properly restrained.
Unsafe loads on vehicles injure more than 1,200 people a year and cost UK businesses millions of pounds in damaged goods.
There will be eight days of spot checks at locations across the North West, with officers from HSE and the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA) inspecting the loads of vehicles that have been pulled over at random.
Similar spot checks took place in April last year with close to 80 per cent of loads found not to be sufficiently restrained.
Drivers/businesses who are found to have unsafe loads face fines or even risk having their vehicle ordered off the road.
As part of the wider 9 week campaign, hauliers and transport managers will be mailed with guidance and top tips on loading and unloading safely and radio and trade press adverts will invite workers to visit www.hse.gov.uk/loadsafety for more information.
Peter Brown from HSE said: "There is absolutely no excuse for unsafe loads. We hear from drivers that they were only ‘going down the road’ or ‘they were running late’ but these just won’t wash, not when people’s health or lives are at risk.
"Vehicles are at risk of overturning if a load moves and makes them unstable. Load shifts can also put those workers who are unloading the van or lorry at the other end at risk.
"Materials falling from vehicles pose a danger to other road users as well as causing annoying traffic disruption. Apart from this, there is the cost to business of a lost or damaged load.
"Take those few extra minutes to secure your loads or at best you could face a fine or, at worst, risk death or injury to your self or others.
John Fitch, VOSA’s Research and Development Manager said: "VOSA and HSE recognise that insecure loads present a great risk to road safety.
We are keen to participate in HSE’s new campaign to highlight the issues of insecure loads, provide education and information for the haulage industry and reduce congestion caused by load loss."
Kate Gibbs, Head of Communication for the Road Haulage Association said: "A considerable amount of work has been conducted into load security. Key stakeholders have been involved in assessing where the main problems are and seeing what can be done to make improvements.
"Items such as vehicle design and specification including the correct restraints for specific loads, loading dynamics, route planning, loader and driver training are just a few of the factors that need to be considered before loads are despatched.
For more information visit www.hse.gov.uk/loadsafety