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Road Users

Loading and load security

Information and answers to frequently asked question relating to loading and load security for heavy trailers.

This content is for general information only. It does not, and is not intended to, provide legal or technical advice or to represent a legal interpretation of the matters it addresses.

Frequently asked questions

Vehicle operators or consignors are obliged under health and safety legislation to:

  • identify transport hazards that exist in the workplace and to take the appropriate steps to eliminate or reduce any risks found.
  • ensure a vehicle is not overloaded and that their related work practices do not result in a danger to their employees or other workers.

You can visit Health and Safety Authority ( HSA) for further guidance on load security.

The general road traffic rules for transporting a load are as follows:

  • Every load carried by a vehicle in a public place shall be of such a weight and size and so distributed, packed, adjusted and attached to the vehicle that, so far as can reasonably be foreseen, no danger is liable to be caused and that there is no interference with the stability of the vehicle.
  • In the case of mechanically propelled vehicles and trailers, no load carried shall exceed a reasonable weight, having regard to the engine capacity, brakes, tyres and general construction of the vehicle.
  • A load shall not be carried on a vehicle on a public road in such a manner that part of the load is liable to fall on the road, or drags on the surface of the road, so as to cause damage to the road or to be liable to cause danger.

You can refer to our Weights and Dimensions webpage which outlines all of the maximum legal weight, height and length limits for various vehicle combinations.

Yes. It is an offence to carry a load on a vehicle which is overloaded. We have been advised by An Garda Síochána that in practice, the driver of an overweight vehicle will receive penalty points and a fixed charge, while the owner of the vehicle will receive a summons to court for the offence. On conviction, the courts can then impose on the owner of the vehicle a class C fine up to €2,500, a prison sentence or both. Where convicted, the vehicle owner may also have further penalties payable to the appropriate local authority.

In this case, the Gardaí may inform the HSA who have the power to inspect a workplace for failures in work practices that would eliminate or reduce any transport hazard risks such as vehicle loading. If significant deficiencies are found in these work practices, it can ultimately result in a prosecution for the consignor.

Where you want to carry heavier loads than those permitted by law and your vehicle is capable of doing so, you can apply for an abnormal loads permit. See our FAQ on Abnormal or Indivisible Loads for more information.

We would recommend that straps and chains are approved to the following standards.

EN 12195-1 – Calculation of securing forces

EN 12195-2 – Web lashing made from manmade fibres EN 12195-3 – Lashing chains

EN 12195-4 – Lashing steel wire ropes.

For further information on load securing, log onto the HSA website.