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RHA Code Of Practice

Road Haulage Association (Code Of Practice)

It is the haulier’s responsibility to provide suitable vehicles and equipment to enable caravans, park homes and portable units to be carried safely. They must ensure that drivers and assistants are fully aware of the relevant legal requirements regarding vehicle loads and are aware of the specific risks associated with the loading of caravans, park homes and portable units. Examples of specific risks are uneven/unsafe ground conditions, heavy or unbalanced loads, use of loading equipment including ramps, winches, support legs and blocks and manual handling of large structures. Working at height is also required so fall protection should be used if appropriate/possible. This list is not exhaustive and additional information should be included in the operators risk assessments. Drivers and assistants should have received adequate and appropriate training in the application and use of equipment, i.e. winches, chains, ramps etc. Conditions of carriage to be agreed with customer and adequate insurance obtained.

Most operators of vehicles and trailers who specialise in the movement of caravans, park homes and portable units have different methods of loading/unloading and equipment, but for the purposes of the code of practice for safe loading, the procedure adopted is generally uniform.

Therefore, presuming that the correct details on length, height, width, weight and value for insurance purposes have been supplied by the customer/manufacturer. The details of loading/unloading are agreed and an appropriate area is supplied, the haulier can despatch the correct transporters for the movement. Check that the details given correspond with the home to be loaded. It is suggested that the following procedure is adopted:

1. Prior to Loading

a. Place the transporter in a suitable and safe position in front of the home to be loaded, taking care when reversing. The area should preferably be level hard standing, free from potholes and is in a designated area away from general public (cordoned off). Operatives must wear the necessary personal protective equipment which would include safety boots, gloves, overalls, reflective jacket/waistcoat and bump caps if working beneath the load is required. Operators should abide by the customers/manufacturers Health & Safety instructions which should be made available to the operator.

b. Carry out a visual inspection of the home. Loose battens, supports, polythene, panels etc must be secured prior to loading. Any damage must be notified to the appropriate person. Any items, such as extending flues, exterior lamps and such like which could become dislodged in transit or increase the overall width and/or height over and above the measurements initially supplied must be removed and stowed inside the home.

c. Check that the home to be loaded is balanced and can be safely manhandled and controlled within Health & Safety guidelines on manual handling. Manual handling requirements should be set out in the operator risk assessments which should limit the amount of lifting, pushing and pulling required. If it is found that the home is imbalanced (either front or back heavy) representations should be made to the manufacturer/customer for them to rectify.

2. Preparing Equipment for Loading

a. Release winch/es and place the two leg sling with hooks from the front winch onto the home’s chassis near the axles where there is a pulling eye or sufficient bracing and tighten winch.

b. Position the loading ramps from the rear of vehicle/trailer bed to ground, lining up the end of the ramps with the wheels of the home supporting the rear of vehicle/trailer and ramps with suitable blocks to alleviate any twisting or bending of the ramps. Remove any chocks supporting the home’s wheels.

c. In addition to cordoning off the area, check that there are no obstructions or persons around the work area which could jeopardise safety (i.e. onlookers, loose items on the vehicle or ground which could cause snagging or slips and trips). If this operation could occur where the public could be present, an additional person should be in attendance to keep watch during loading.

d. Winch the home up the ramps checking that the tyres of the home are running centrally up the ramps and not pinching against the sides of the ramps which could cause a rapid tyre deflation. Check load is evenly balanced on trailer to ensure safety during transportation.

e. The winch operation should be smooth as ‘snatching’ can double or even treble the load on the winch wire which could lead to a wire breaking or damage to the winch. Ensure that the winch wire is winding tautly and correctly on the drum.

f. Once the home is at the front of the transport vehicle/trailer it should be secured to the front of the transporter before jacking takes place. The home should then be jacked up, either

a. one corner at a time or b. one side at a time behind the wheels, blocked at the appropriate support points making sure that no weight is taken by the wheels.

g. The home should then be chained down with the chains going through the chassis of the home at points where the chassis is braced and preferably near to the pre-blocked positions (some hauliers use ratchet straps for this operation). These loads can be very side heavy, and the means of securing must take account that sideways load on strapping could be unusually high on one side.

h. Ramps, spare blocks and any other equipment should then be stowed and made secure on the vehicle/trailer.

3. Legal Requirements

Conditions of carriage verified.

That adequate insurance to customer satisfaction for the transporter and load is obtained. Where the width of the load exceeds 2.9 metres (9’6”) warning triangles should be fitted to the front and rear of the load.

a. Where a rearward load projection exceeds 3 metres (9’10”) side markers must be fitted to each side of the projection.

b. Where the width of the load exceeds 3.5 metres (11’6”) an attendant must accompany the driver (unless the load is being self/privately escorted from the point of collection to the point of delivery).

c. An attendant is also required if the rearward projection of the load exceeds 3.05 metres (10’).

d. The Police should be notified of any movement over 2.9 metres (9’6”) wide or a dispensation obtained. Instructions from the Police are followed and escorts obtained wherever necessary.

e. This code of practice is followed, or another equally effective safe system of work for loading the caravan, park home or portable unit is followed.

Any equipment used in the loading/unloading of caravans, park homes and office units should be inspected at regular intervals by a competent person and records kept to this effect.
This equipment includes: winches and electrical connections/handsets, winch ropes, chains, two leg slings with hooks, ratchet straps, shackles, loading ramps (for cracks), blocks and warning triangles.

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