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North American Cargo Securement Standards

The North American Cargo Securement Standard is a set of regulations and guidelines designed to ensure that safe and effective cargo securement methods are implemented in the commercial vehicle industry. It requires that all cargo you transport be secured, contained, and immobilized. Cargo must be secured so that it doesn’t spill, leak, get disconnected from the flatbed, or shift on the vehicle in a way that interferes with vehicle control.

Why Are the North American Cargo Securement Standards Important?

The minimum requirement for load securement is to abide by these regulations. Keeping yourself, your cargo, and others around you safe often necessitates going above and beyond what is required.

It is critical to be familiar with load securement rules and regulations. This will assist you in determining the best methods and techniques for safeguarding your goods. You will be able to develop a safe and effective cargo transport process by applying these approaches.

Specific Tie-Down Requirements

Tie-down requirements differ based on what you are restraining. For example, restrain forward movement using headboards, bulkheads, and other cargo pieces. The minimum number of tie-downs required is determined by the weight and length of your cargo. If your cargo is less than 5 feet long and weighs less than 1,100 pounds, you will require at least one tie-down.

If your cargo item is 5 feet or less in length but over 1,100 pounds in weight it will require at least two tie-downs. If your load is longer than 10 feet, you will need two tie-downs for the first 10 feet and one tie-down for every additional 10 feet of the cargo.

You will require at least one tiedown for every 10 feet or more of cargo length if your cargo is being held back by:

Direct Tie-Down

Tiedown methods are classified into two types. A direct tie-down is one that is attached to both the trailer and the cargo. A straight tie-down is one that is looped around a piece of cargo and has both ends anchored on the same side of the trailer. These tie-downs operate by counteracting the forces imposed on your cargo while it is in transit. Your cargo is kept secure and immobile by counteracting these forces.

Indirect Tie-Down

An indirect tie-down is the second type of tie-down you can use. Attaching the tie-down to opposite sides of the trailer and passing it over, through, or around your load facilitates this. Indirect tie-downs apply more pressure to the load. This increases friction and prevents movement or shifting.


Sometimes, your cargo and deck do not interact as much as usual. Snowy and slippery conditions, regions with gravel, and decks with oil spills are some examples. In these instances, you should go above and beyond to secure your cargo.

Use direct tie-downs wherever possible in low-friction settings. This will ensure they will not rely on friction for securement as much as indirect tie-downs. Increase load security by using more tie-downs. Consider using friction-increasing methods such as rubber friction mats. Set up blocking mechanisms as well to keep your goods from moving.

Working Load Limit Requirements

The working load limit (WLL) is the maximum load weight that can be safely applied to the cargo securement system. WLL values are assigned to devices such as chains, straps, and attachment points. The WLL of a tie-down as a whole is the lowest of any of its pieces or anchor points.

Loads that exceed a device’s capacity can cause device failure due to cargo pressures putting too much strain on the tie-down. Heavy or large loads frequently need more tie-downs to ensure the cargo’s security. You can boost load security and prevent accidents by employing the appropriate number of tie-downs.

A securement device’s operational load limit is usually displayed somewhere on the device itself. Make sure you understand any codes or symbols that represent the device’s security level, as well as where to get the standards for these symbols. If you’re unsure about the device’s restriction, contact your carrier. Gather as much information as you can. You should not use a security device based on the premise that everything will be fine.

Aggregate Working Load Limit

Another important limit to know is the Aggregate Working Load Limit (AWLL). AWLL is the entire load-bearing capacity of all tie-down devices on your securement system. The laws demand that the AWLL of any load be at least half the weight of the secured cargo. You may begin to assess how many tie-downs you’ll need and what method of connection is appropriate if you know the:

Additional Tie-Downs

Information on your cargo and tie-downs is critical for meeting cargo securement regulations. However, more tie-downs and securement features may be required to increase load security and safety.

In the event of inclement weather, such as rain or snow, consider adding extra tie-downs or securement options. Extra securement should be utilized if you are hauling heavier freight or if the cargo requires unusual positioning. Extra tie-downs should be used if the weight is not secured against movement in a certain direction. There are many instances in which you may want more security for your cargo, so be aware of when you should take extra precautions.

Unloading Process in Accordance With Load Securement Rules

To begin unloading freight, securement mechanisms must be removed. When removing straps or other securement devices, proceed with caution. Cargo may shift slightly during transit, causing it to act unexpectedly if securement systems are removed. When uninstalling securement systems, avoid places where the load could fall or tip onto you. Straps should be removed from the ground whenever possible.

Specific Cargo & Load Securement Regulations

There are various norms and regulations that must be followed when loading and securing cargo. There are also more specific requirements you must fulfill when handling different types of cargo. Generally, all forms of cargo securement systems must meet general standards. Although, these cargo types may be subject to extra regulations.

Specific cargo restrictions are more than simply adding extra tie-downs. These regulations must be fulfilled in order to transport the cargo. Some specific types of cargo cannot be safely secured due to their unique requirements, even if you have a securement system that would efficiently secure cargo under normal standards. When examined, this could result in a violation or an accident if the securement mechanism fails.


Depending on the log’s nature or orientation on the trailer, tie-down and securement methods apply. According to general standards, various types of logs can be safeguarded. Logs that are tied or grouped together can be secured under regular cargo securement regulations. Loads of four or fewer processed logs would also fall in accordance with general criteria.

Logs must be transported in vehicles that were designed or modified for log transportation. Bunks, bolsters, stakes, or standards should be installed on these vehicles to confine logs and prevent rolling. All vehicle components should endure the cargo weight without failing, unintentionally releasing, or being distorted.

Bundled Material

When transporting multiple bundles of materials, you must ensure that each is in direct contact with another. This is the safest way to secure multiple bundles in one load. Some examples of different potential bundles are dressed lumber and other construction material. If there is not enough cargo for this, you can also use space fillers. Use a single tier of bundles to secure them in accordance with the normal cargo securement criteria if you only have one.

Metal Coils

Metal coils are any metal that is transported in the form of a coil, roll, spool, or other similar packing. This includes coils of metal foil, wire, and metal chains wrapped in rolls, among other things. Coils weighing less than 5,000 pounds can be secured using the general securement requirements. The opposite applies if the weight of the load exceeds 5,000 pounds. In this situation, you will need to adhere to more specific standards. These standards will be dependent on how you position the coils on the flatbed.

Securing groups of metal coils is similar to securing a single coil. However, there are some special conditions that you must fulfill. These specifications can differ depending on the orientation, size, and arrangement of the set of coils being secured. Study the regulations to determine the requirements for your load and what securement measures to employ.

Concrete Pipe

Concrete pipes that are positioned across the flatbed are fastened in the same way that metal coils are. You’ll need to use a mix of tie-downs and devices such as timbers, chocks, cradles, wedges, or friction mats to prevent rolling and other movements. When carrying groups of pipe, load the pipe as compactly as you are able to.

Pipes of various sizes should be loaded and fastened in groups based on their size and diameter. The AWLL of tie-downs must be greater than half the total weight of the pipes in the group. Tie-downs that go through or over the pipe in the higher tier and are attached to the trailer should be used to prevent the movement of stacked pipes.


Vehicles are secured according to their weight. If the vehicle weighs less than 10,000 pounds, you will need to secure it with at least two tie-downs. Position at least one in the back and one in the front to prevent movement. Tie-downs should be attached to mounting points if they are available and close to the cargo loading area.

More tie-downs may be necessary to meet the minimum qualifications. This should follow the North American Cargo Securement Standard’s 50% AWLL requirements.

Heavy vehicles and machinery that run on wheels or tracks and weigh more than 10,000 pounds also have specific requirements. This includes large vehicles, front-end loaders, bulldozers, tractors, and other equipment. Lighter vehicles can be similarly secured in accordance with these standards; however, it is not required.

When loading machinery, only a qualified employee should operate the equipment. Once the vehicle has been situated and secured on the trailer, you can then begin loading and securing all supplementary items. This could include equipment such as hydraulics or booms.

Always remember to engage the parking brake on any equipment that is being secured.

Oversized Cargo

Because of their dimensions and weight, some loads are called “oversized.” The standards governing what is considered big differ based on your location. Determine your journey route and secure all relevant permits to transport big freight loads.

As stated previously, different types of loads necessitate a different strategy for the securement procedure. Understanding these securement requirements is critical to meet regulations and ensure a safe environment for cargo travel.

Inspections According to Cargo Securement Regulations

Pre-Transit Inspections

After the initial securement process is complete, you must perform an inspection before shipment. The inspection process should include:

If the cargo positioning or securing devices are deemed insufficient, they must be adjusted. If someone else loaded and secured the cargo, be prepared to advise them on what changes are required. Cargo transportation cannot begin unless your cargo is securely strapped down.

Additional Inspections

Cargo securement should be maintained at all times. This includes during actions such as loading, transporting, and unloading. Because of this, regulations will require the inspector to perform additional inspections.

Look for any tie-downs that may have been loosened or damaged during transit. Also, make sure that your cargo hasn’t shifted. Address any cargo items or securement devices that need to be tightened down or changed in order to keep your cargo secure.

The first of these additional checks must take place within the first 50 miles. Inspections are also required if you stop or your duty status changes. You should perform an inspection every three hours or 150 miles, whichever comes first. During these inspections, adjust any tie-downs, cargo, or vehicle needs that require attention.

Roadside inspections might be routine, but they can also occur at inconvenient moments. The Department of Transportation has authorized police officers to stop truck drivers for inspections even if no traffic violations have occurred.

Why Do I Need Cargo Securement Training?

Accidents involving cargo securement are not something that any driver expects to happen while on the road. However, faulty methods or a lack of expertise can still result in these situations. By acquiring enough training, you can reduce your risks of securement failure. You may make your transit experience safer for yourself and the drivers around you by adhering to regulations and procedures, as well as utilizing your training and knowledge.

Knowing how to properly load, secure, and transport cargo plays a vital rule in your safety. This is why load securement training is so important. Understanding what to watch for when loading, inspecting, or securing cargo can mean the difference between life and death. You are not the only individual whose safety will be compromised if you miss a step. Always be sure to double and triple check your work.

Where Can I Get Cargo Securement Training?

Luckily for you, we here at Hard Hat Training offer many engaging and efficient training courses. We also offer them in different learning formats. Our Cargo Securement Safety Training Course complies with the appropriate safety standards and is available for purchase today!