Load Restraint – “Load of Old Rope”

For some time there has been a lot of noise around load restraint on vehicles and in particular the use of ropes. There seems to be a love affair with Rope, maybe it’s the Boy Scout in all of us. So let me clear up a myth, –

Myth – “the use of Rope will be banned under CoR

Ropes will not be banned under Chain of Responsibility and are able to be used in accordance with the NTC Load Restraint Guide.

So now that is cleared up we need say no more and we can use rope as we always have…. WRONG, let’s explore the Load Restraint Guide.

Australian Load Restraint Guide – Rope

The Load restraint guide states:

“The tie-down force from each lashing is the sum of the lashing tension on each side of the load, multiplied by the angle effect. The tension in any lashing must not exceed the manufacturers’ lashing capacity.”

So looking at the Manufactures Lashing Capacity, where do you find the tag on the rope that states the Australian Standard and lashing capacity? When did you last see such a tag? Maybe never! But wait; rope standard do exist, again the Load Restraint Guide states,

“4.12 Ropes

Rope designed for use in transport (Transport Fibre Rope) is made from synthetic fibre. Rope made from natural fibre has lower strength than synthetic rope.

All transport fibre rope with a diameter of at least 12 mm is colour-coded for its lashing capacity. A rope with two black marker yarns has a lashing capacity of 100 kg and a rope with one yellow and one black marker yarn has a lashing capacity of 300 kg. (Note these are the strength of the rope, not the tension achieved when tightening.) Ropes should only be used for restraining relatively lightweight loads”


So let me ask some questions:

Q – Do 100% of the ropes used in your business have a coloured yarn in them?        Yes □ No□

Q – Do 100% of the rope users know which colour means what?                                               Yes □ No□

If you answered no to either question you are in contravention of the load restraint guide.


Again from the Load Restraint Guide

“rope is much more elastic, allowing too much load shift and should not be used unless part of a properly designed load restraint system.”

Do you have a designed Load restraint system, so that you can use the ropes properly? Or is it based on what’s in the tool box at the time?

Yet one more from the Load Restraint Guide

“After a rope is tightened, the initial tension will usually relax after a very short time and the rope will need re-tightening”

So how often does the driver have to stop to check his load restraint and re tighten? Could this slow down the drive?


In summary, ropes are not banned under CoR, the NTC provides clear guides on how to use ropes and it’s not very complimentary.

So not banned, but would you really trust rope as a “reasonable step” of defence if your load fell off and caused a death?

Ropes have their place but not in heavy vehicle load restraint.


If you would like to know more about Chain of Responsibility and its impact on industry or would like to know more about the Chain of Responsibility Managers course call: LATUS on 1300 008 386



Doing nothing is not an option

For more details contact management@latus.com.au or call 1300 008 386


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Mike Wood

Mike is qualified in both Civil and Mechanical Engineering, with Post Graduate qualifications in Logistics and Business Administration and is a qualified RABQSA/Exemplar auditor. The initial phase of his career involved public roads and transportation authorities in technical and management roles with both VicRoads and the Victorian Ministry of Transport and designed Melbourne’s time public transport system Mike then moved into private industry and over several years, held General Manager positions with major logistics service providers with turnovers in excess of $500 million. As his expertise and knowledge grew he moved into consulting and became Principal Consultant with Dawson Consulting, one of the largest Supply Chain and Logistics consulting companies in Australia Mike is now Managing Director of LATUS Business Solutions, which is a highly regarded Business Improvement practice, operating in 3 major area; • Supply Chain & Logistics design; • Compliance implementation & management; • Risk analysis& Safety management • Leading training provider (RTO) in the area of Lean Logistics & Business He has been a Director of transport and logistics industry associations in Queensland and Victoria.

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