How to securely transport timber

When working with any large goods like timber, safe and secure transit is essential. Not only will it ensure that the timber is delivered in top-notch condition, but also that you and other road users are safe as it moves from A to B. Here, we take a look at several tips for transporting timber securely in heavy goods vehicles.

Choose the right truck

Flatbed trucks or trailers are typically the most popular option for transporting timber thanks to their easy loading. As they are open to the elements, you can use a forklift or crane to lift your timber and load it onto the flatbed.

Whatever truck you choose, you must make sure the vehicle is roadworthy before you set off. It’s the driver’s responsibility to do a walkaround inspection of the HGV, checking both the inside and outside of the vehicle.

Government guidance states that externally, you should inspect the lights and indicators, fuel and oil leaks, security of body and wings, battery condition, exhaust fluid, exhaust, tyres and more. Inside, make sure you check the mirrors, wipers and washers, warning lights, steering, brakes, horn, seatbelts and so on.

Load the timber safely

Loading the timber onto your flatbed safely and securely is one of the most important stages of timber transit. Secure fastening will stop the timber from shifting during the journey, making sure that it arrives in good condition. It also ensures the safety of you and others on the road.

Make sure you evenly distribute the weight across the flatbed and stack your timber in a pyramid formation. Secure the load with the right straps and protectors and install haulage signs on your vehicle to warn other road users about keeping a safe distance.

Use high-quality equipment

Certain equipment is required to ensure safe and efficient transport of your timber. This includes high-quality ratchet straps to secure the load to the trailer and prevent movement during transit. You can also use chains and binders for additional protection.

All straps used for transporting timber should be inspected before the journey and conform to EN12195-2. Make sure you check for any tears or damage on your straps that could affect performance. It’s also recommended to protect your timber with a quality tarp to keep the wood in good condition as it’s transported.

Follow government regulations

There are government guidelines you need to follow to make sure your goods are securely fastened on your HGV. There is a specific timber section in the guidance that states “you must secure prepared timber with lashings or chains. For long lengths of prepared timber you will usually need 3 straps rather than 2 to make sure the load does not rotate on the load bed”.

It’s also worth checking out the Timber Transport Forum’s guidance on haulage of timber. They offer a handy guide on the strapping of round timber loads and the Timber Transport Code of Practice.