How to transport heavy industry equipment safely

Heavy machinery is used in all manner of industries, from construction to agriculture even through to the military – and even if your organisation doesn’t move around such machinery on a regular basis, transporting such things even once is an undertaking not to be taken lightly.

Safe conduct on the road is paramount as it is, with five road deaths reported in the UK every day, and the stakes are even higher when vehicles carrying extremely heavy equipment are involved. It’s vital to be fully aware of good practice whenever you need industrial equipment to get from point A to point B.

What’s involved in transporting heavy industry equipment?

A heavy goods vehicle (HGV) is classified as one with a total weight over 3,500kg once cargo is accounted for – and you’ll almost certainly need one if you’re moving heavy-duty machinery. Depending on the exact equipment that you need to transport, you might end up needing to involve one that can handle much higher capacities. This is certainly possible – in the UK, depending on the size and nature of the vehicle, maximum weight limits can stretch from 17,000kg to 44,000kg.

But the process doesn’t simply begin and end with finding a vehicle that can hold enough mass. You’ll need to consider the loading and unloading processes, properly securing the equipment within the vehicle and any relevant legalities.

The challenges

Safety is going to be your number-one concern, from the start until the equipment is safely in place at its destination. You’ll need to consider and take steps to mitigate any risks to staff loading and unloading the vehicle, as well as the driver and others on the road who could be in danger should an accident occur.

You’ll need to think ahead for what’s required to make the journey a smooth one. There are plenty of rules and regulations for the authorised transport of heavy equipment, so do your homework and find out if you’ll need any permits for your cargo. This becomes even more important if you’re transporting it internationally – requirements and regulations may vary from country to country, and you’ll need to be compliant with all of them.

It’s also worth noting that driving an HGV is very different to taking out the family hatchback. Training for your driver is mandatory, and experience is even better, to reduce the risk of a calamitous accident.

Tips on doing it safely

  1. Don’t skip on your preparation. Make sure to do your research on any permits that you might need, and have a clear plan for every step of the journey before loading anything onto the vehicle.
  2. You can never be too cautious. The more ways in which your cargo is secured in place, the better – you can use chains as well as ratchet straps to lock it down; it doesn’t need to just be a choice between them!
  3. Perform a full inspection of both the equipment and vehicle before and after loading is completed. The more you can reduce the risk of the unexpected occurring on the road, the better, so a thorough eye over everything can help to spot any potential problems. If one is found that can’t be immediately solved, it’s always correct to delay rather than to press on regardless.

While there are always risks involved with transporting heavy industry machinery, these can always be worked around with expertise, good planning and methodical care.

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