Ratchet Straps can be a couriers best friend at times. No matter what kind of work you plan on doing, it makes sense to always have some available.
Okay, so the exception is if you are a parcel multi-dropper then you won’t have much of the time or inclination to bother tying anything down. And it won’t be as necessary.
But occasionally there might just be that one item that needs securing, and if you have the right equipment you’re good to go.
For everyone doing same day, next day and large item transport, straps are essential. Especially when you’re carrying palletised goods.
Use Straps, Because Split Happens
You might think that your “driving is smooth” and that you are “not going very far” and that it’s “all motorway” (the terms in quotes are all things I’ve heard said in relation to people choosing NOT to strap pallets), but the fact is that you can never be sure what forces will act upon the goods in transit.
I’ve seen it first hand. A driver that set off without strapping a pallet down and turned up at the delivery site with the pallet having tipped forward under heavy braking to avoid a collision, and the entire load shed inside the vehicle.
Even if you’ve collected a pallet of boxes that look extremely well wrapped, having to anchor on when a car cuts in front of you or making a slightly aggressive turn when your sat nav changes its mind can soon have those boxes breaking free from the pallet wrap. With ratchet straps securing the load it provides extra structural rigidity. This gives you more chance of getting the load there exactly as it left the collection depot.
Which Straps and When?
Learning which straps you need and when to use them is effectively down to experience. If you’re planning to operate a large 3.5 tonne panel van, most of your loads are going to be under 1 tonne in weight. Straps with a lashing capacity of 1.5 tonnes or higher (per strap) are more than enough to do the job.
Generally it makes sense to have a selection of straps if you can afford to. Smaller straps with a quick-release mechanism can be used to secure loose items like furniture to the side of your van or the bulkhead. Heavy-duty ratchet straps are better for pallets. But make sure you select straps long enough to go over the pallet and down to your floor hooks (I’d suggest over 5m in case you carry pallets over 1.5m high).
Further Information on Securing Loads
You can find government guidelines on securing loads at the link below. It is tailored more towards hauliers using HGV’s than van operators, but the advice can be applied fairly easily.