A load on a heavy vehicle must:
- not be placed in a way that makes the vehicle unstable or unsafe
- be secured so it is unlikely to fall or dislodge
- be restrained using an appropriate method of restraint
- be placed, secured or restrained in a way that meets the performance standards contained in the National Transport Commission's (NTC) Load Restraint Guide Second Edition 2004.
To provide heavy vehicle drivers, operators and other parties with further information about Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) loading requirements, the NHVR has produced Compliance bulletin 9 – Heavy vehicle loading requirements (PDF, 91KB).
Load Restraint Guide
The Load Restraint Guide 2018 provides drivers, owners, operators, freight consigners, vehicle manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers with the basic safety principles that should be followed when designing a load restraint system to ensure the safe and efficient transportation of loads
Load restraint performance standards
The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) references the performance standards contained in the Load Restraint Guide Second Edition 2004 as published in the Commonwealth Gazette. The wording of the performance standards contained in the Load Restraint Guide 2018 has been amended to facilitate the future transfer of the performance standards into the HVNL, however the legal intent has not changed. The required level of restraint for a heavy vehicle load remains the same.
Update and review of guide
The NTC completed a major review of the Load Restraint Guide Second Edition 2004 in January 2018 to ensure it was clear, user friendly and based on the best available evidence on how to safely restrain and transport the majority of loads carried by heavy vehicles in Australia. This involved extensive consultation with the NHVR, transport industry, load restraint experts, road transport agencies, police and other stakeholders. Public comment was sought through the NTC’s website from 14 June to 9 August 2017. The Load Restraint Guide 2018 was formally approved by the Transport and Infrastructure Council on 10 November 2017.
The Load Restraint Guide 2018 provides accurate and up-to-date information that reflects current load restraint practices and heavy vehicle designs, such as Load Rated Curtain Systems and other technologies that have evolved since the Guide was first published in 2004. It presents information in a format that is easy to access and understand and is designed to meet the needs of the target audience. This information is based on the key steps involved in transporting loads to assist heavy vehicle drivers, operators and other parties to develop load restraint systems to suit their individual requirements.
Where can I obtain a copy of the Load Restraint Guide 2018?
The Load Restraint Guide 2018 is available to download and hard copies can be ordered from the NTC at www.ntc.gov.au/heavy-vehicles/rules-compliance/load-restraint-guide
What has changed in the Load Restraint Guide 2018?
The guidance material contained in the Load Restraint Guide 2018 has been updated to ensure it:
- is easy to access and understand
- meets the needs of the target audience
- is accurate, up to date and reflects current load restraint practices and heavy vehicle technology
- provides information based on the key steps involved in transporting loads to assist heavy vehicle drivers, operators and other parties to develop load restraint systems to suit their individual requirements
- includes computer-generated diagrams and graphics to provide greater detail.
- provides detailed worked examples demonstrating how to apply the load restraint principles provided in the Guide to the common freight commodities.
Is the Load Restraint Guide a legal document?
The performance standards in the Load Restraint Guide Second Edition 2004 have legal effect as the minimum standard that the HVNL requires for the restraint of a load. The remainder of the Load Restraint Guide is guidance material only on how you may meet the performance standards.
Where should I obtain advice on how to restrain my load?
If you’ve read the guidance material contained in the Load Restraint Guide and you’re still unsure how to meet your legislative loading requirements, you should consult with a suitably qualified person (e.g. a chartered professional mechanical engineer who is a full member of Engineers Australia or Registered Professional Engineers Queensland and has an understanding of heavy vehicle design and a detailed knowledge of load restraint requirements).
Do Chain of Responsibility requirements apply to load restraint?
Yes, Chain of Responsibility (CoR) requirements do apply to heavy vehicle loading and load restraint.
Under CoR, all parties who have control or influence over the transport task are deemed responsible for complying with, and for breaches of HVNL loading requirements. All parties must take reasonable steps to prevent breaches of loading requirements. An example of a reasonable step would be seeking advice about your load restraint systems from a suitably qualified person.
Further information on CoR can be found at: www.nhvr.gov.au/cor
What loading requirements apply in the Northern Territory and Western Australia?
Information on loading requirements in the Northern Territory and Western Australia can be found at:
Is there a load restraint guide for light vehicles?
Yes, the NTC has published a Load Restraint Guide 2018 for Light Vehicles that provides load restraint guidance specifically for loads carried by light vehicles, 4.5t GVM or less. This is available from the NTC at www.ntc.gov.au/heavy-vehicles/rules-compliance/load-restraint-guide/