A load on a heavy vehicle must not be placed in a way that makes the vehicle unstable or unsafe. It must be:
- secured so it is unlikely to fall or dislodge
- restrained using an appropriate method of restraint
- placed, secured or restrained in a way that meets the performance standards contained in the National Transport Commission's (NTC) Load Restraint Guide 2018.
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
Update and review of guide
The NTC completed a major review of the guide 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 2018 guide was formally approved by the Transport and Infrastructure Council on 10 November 2017.
The improved guide 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 for download on the NTC website at www.ntc.gov.au/heavy-vehicles/rules-compliance/load-restraint-guide/
Hard copies of the Guide will be available for order from the NTC in mid 2018.
Have the load restraint performance standards changed?
Yes, the wording of the performance standards has changed, however the legal intent has not—the required level of restraint for a heavy vehicle load has not changed.
The wording of the performance standards contained in the Load Restraint Guide 2018 has been amended to facilitate the transfer of the performance standards into the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
What has changed in the new Load Restraint Guide?
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 contained in the Load Restraint Guide 2018 are referenced in the HVNL as the minimum standard the Law requires for the restraint of a load. The guidance materials contained in the Guide provides information 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 2018 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
Do the Load Restraint Guide performance standards apply in Western Australia and Northern Territory?
Information on loading requirements in Western Australia and Northern Territory 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 can be downloaded from the NTC website at www.ntc.gov.au/heavy-vehicles/rules-compliance/load-restraint-guide/