Load locks are used in the trucking industry to secure cargo while in transit; they are telescoping bars that have ratcheting mechanisms inside, and are typically constructed out of steel or aluminum. To set a load lock in place, you telescope the bar until the ends of the device connect with the walls or floor and the ceiling; you then flip the tension handle to lock the device in place.
The use of load locks is a topic we regularly review; there are many tips surrounding the use of these devices that can assist in improving or maintaining your safety record. When used properly, load locks properly prevent shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo, overloading, and unsafe handling of hazardous materials. When load locks are not used or are improperly used, they can lead to on-road violations such as: improper load securement, cargo retention, and hazardous material handling.
How to use load locks to your best advantage:
- Make sure you have3-6load locks that are in good working order available at all times.
- Generally speaking, it is recommended that 2 load locks be placed between the floor and the ceiling on the left side of the rear pallets; all vehicles on the road lean slightly to the right due the road’s center crown. All pallets are stacked slightly to the right of the trailer in order to minimize shifting.
- It is also recommended that 2 load locks be placed on the back of the rear pallets between the trailer’s walls. And remember, keep aminimum of 6 inches of space between the back doors and the load to allow for adequate air flow throughout the trailer!
- Even if you don’t use all of your load locks on a regular basis, perform a monthly inspection on them to ensure they are working effectively and are not rusted or broken. Don’t get you and your load locks JAMMED UP at time of loading!!!!
Smart-trucking.com has created a useful video on how to secure your load safely, which includes how to use load locks:
Improperly positioned freight can not only affect your safety rating, but can also result in damages have the potential to cause a significant loss of value to the load and additional costs. So, the moral here (once again) is be prepared; prevention is always the best way!