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Load security for XL-rated vehicles

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XL rating sticker

We are accepting new standards on load security provided by XL-rated vehicles. Previously we accepted that vehicles built to the EN 12642 XL standards would provide 40% of security to the side. After consultation with industry stakeholders we now accept these vehicles as providing 50% of load security to the side – as long as the load is a positive fit.

The Department for Transport (DfT) Code of Practice, Safety of Loads on Vehicles, states:

...the combined strength of the load restraint system must be sufficient to withstand a force not less than the total weight of the load forward... and half of the weight of the load backwards and sideways.

This applies to all vehicles, irrespective of size.

Most curtain-sided vehicles must use additional suitable load restraint to prevent loads from moving during transit. The curtains fitted to these vehicles are designed for weather protection only.

XL-rated vehicles

However, vehicles and trailers built to the European Standard EN 12642 XL are the exception to this rule. New European guidance (still in draft) states that vehicles built to the XL standard will meet the 50% of load securing to the side, as per the DfT Code of Practice.

Positive fit

We now accept XL-rated vehicles as providing 50% of the total maximum vehicle load to the side. So you would not need to use additional lashing or other load security solutions, as long as you have loaded the goods with a positive fit:

  • load from the headboard, filling the length of the load bed up to the bulkhead, which must be in good condition
  • the gap between each side of the load and the curtains must be 80 millimetres or less
  • the load must be secured to the rear if it is not retained by the trailer body or rear doors

But if you have not loaded your XL-rated vehicle to these positive fit standards, you must treat it in the same way as a normal curtain-sided vehicle and use other appropriate methods to secure the load, such as lashings.

Beware multi-drop

XL-rated vehicles involved in multi drop operations may well start the journey meeting positive fit requirements. But as the load diminishes, the driver must either fill any gaps to maintain the positive fit, or use additional securing measures.

Download DfT’s Code of Practice: Safety of Loads on Vehicles from the GOV.UK archive at (PDF 2.28MB)

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1 comment

  1. Comment by R telford posted on

    No working space on curtainsiders because pallets are tight together and van fully loaded how are we to get up on them and stand in a safe place to unload can anybody give me a reasonable answer before someone breaks their neck