CAN YOU USE THE SIDE BAR AS A LASHING POINT FOR SECURING A LOAD?
You regularly see loads being lashed to the side bar or the chassis of vehicles using all kinds of hooks. This is often down to laziness or because the lashing points are in the wrong place. But are you actually allowed to do that according to the regulations on load securing? Our load securing specialist Niels Bouwmeester has written his second blog on the subject below.
WHAT DO THE LOAD SECURING DIRECTIVES AND STANDARDS SAY?
The ‘Vehicle Regulations Article 5.18.6(5)’ states that lashing systems, securing systems and stowage systems and components must work properly and be fit for the purpose for which they are used. ‘Fit’ means using the right hook for the lashing point to be used. So the hook should not be put under strain at the point, for example.
AM I EVEN ALLOWED TO USE THE SIDE BAR OR THE CHASSIS TO SECURE A LOAD?
You certainly should not use the side bar or the chassis as a lashing point when securing a load directly. In principle, the lashing strap is used in a form-fitting way in this case. This will prevent the load to be secured from slipping in the direction in which the strap is applied. The strap will not prevent slipping but mainly serves to prevent movement. With the load securing method of direct securing, the frictional force does not really increase.
You can use the side bar or the chassis as a lashing point when securing a load by tying it down. This is due to the downward forces involved. With tying down, it is not the lashing strap that secures the load but rather the extra downward pressure as a result of the pre-stress initiated. This results in an increased frictional force. If the strap at the contact points and the round corners are protected and the bottom of the hook and the strap are in a straight line, then everything is OK. The fact that the side bar may be damaged has nothing to do with the way that the load securing method of tying down works.
When you attach a hook to the side bar, you should also take into account that the lashing strap has more contact surfaces. This will often produce a lower STF value than is stated on the label. Another thing that is extremely important: use the right type of hook!
SO WHICH HOOK SHOULD I USE?
For ‘normal’ lashing points
The side bar is the carrier to which ‘normal’ lashing points can apply their forces. It is OK to attach a double point hook to a certified lashing eye but you should never attach a claw hook to a lashing eye.
For the side bar and chassis
In the case of the side bar and chassis, the reverse applies. According to article 5.18.6(5), it is not permissible for a point hook to be attached to the side bar but you can attach a claw hook. As already mentioned above, all this applies to tying down and not to direct securing. However, you should make sure that you never use fasteners that have been stretched.
BUT IS THE SIDE BAR OF THE CHASSIS ‘RELIABLE’ ENOUGH?
A lashing strap with a claw hook will ensure a better distribution of pressure than a lashing strap with a double point hook when tying down a load. Even if a manufacturer produces a positive calculation for the point load of the chassis or side bar, you should only use a lashing strap and claw hook for tying down. So it is not so much the side bar or the chassis that is the issue but rather the effects of using them.
ADVICE: CAN YOU USE THE SIDE BAR OR CHASSIS FOR SECURING A LOAD?
Yes, you are allowed to use the side bar or the chassis as a lashing point as long as you use the right type of hook and apply it correctly. Or as Article 5.18.6(5) states, it must be fit for purpose. A claw hook is fit for purpose as that is what it was designed for. A double point hook is not because the hook is incorrectly loaded in 9 out of 10 cases.
My advice on this: do you want to be able to use any load securing method on your vehicle? Then have extra lashing eyes fitted to your vehicle. But make sure that you fit lashing eyes that have been tested and certified in accordance with EN 12640. Make sure that you don’t overload the eye too – a towing hook is not a certified lashing point