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Can shrink-wrapping be used as a load restraint?

October 6, 2016

If your company shrink-wraps pallets or loose goods for transport, will that discharge your Chain of Responsibility (CoR) obligations in regards to load restraint, in other words, ensuring that the goods are securely loaded onto vehicles.

Geoff Farnsworth, partner at Holding Redlich and Editor-in-Chief of CoR Adviser, says essentially, 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’s unlikely to fall or dislodge.

He advises that the National Transport Commission’s Load Restraint Guide says that stretch film wrapping and shrink-wrapping can be used to unitise a load consisting of many small objects, such as palletised loads. However, you will need to use your (or expert) judgement on whether or not shrink-wrapping is sufficient.

This may depend on the size and weight of the load. For example, it may not be suitable for heavier loads or loads with sharp corners, Geoff warns.

“It may be the case that you will need to incorporate a number of different methods including banding, strapping, gluing, stretch-wrapping and shrink-wrapping for certain loads,” Geoff says.

All reasonable steps

“But as long as you are taking all reasonable steps to ensure that the load is securely restrained (and capable of meeting the forces set out in the Load Restraint Guide), you will be discharging your CoR obligations.”

Geoff suggests readers review the Load Restraint Guide 2004, which can be found at: ntc.gov.au/heavy-vehicles/safety/load-restraint-guide

And for other advice peculiar to CoR obligations, subscribe to CoR Adviser, a monthly newsletter full of information, hints and tips, written by transport and logistics experts and legal authorities, like Geoff.

Subscribe today and find solutions to some of the tricky questions the CoR poses.