2.2 – Understanding the Load – Loose Bulk Materials and Liquids


Loose bulk materials and present some challenges in terms of load restraint because while they are typically contained loads, the load can move around within the body of the vehicle.

Loose Bulk Materials

Loose bulk loads such as sand, soil, quarry or mining products, grains and fertilisers cannot easily be tied down and are typically carried in a tipper which may be covered with a tarpaulin or a load net. Image of grain being loaded into a tipper (there was a stock image in HV101 that would work) In these cases, the load is contained by the body forwards-backwards and side to side, but is not constrained vertically. In these cases, it is important to consider the height of the sides of the vehicle and the capacity of the tarpaulin or load restraint nets to ensure the load is fully constrained.

Load dislodged

Container bulk load

It is also important to consider movement within the body as a shift in the load may impact on the stability of the vehicle.

Gaps in contained bulk load

It may be possible to use other material to assist in managing sideways movements. (see also Lesson 3.6 on dunnage)

For fine powdery materials such as cement or for liquids the load needs to be fully contained and can be carried using:

  • A dedicated tanker body or trailer
  • Intermediate Bulk Containers
Dry Bulk Tanker

Another option for bulk materials is the use of bags, sacks or bales which are more amenable to being tied down but because of the flexibility of these packages, containment issues still need to be considered in restraining these loads.

Wool bale
Cement bag
Hay bale


In the case of liquids in particular it is important to ensure that suitable baffles are in place to control movement of the load within the tank

Liquid tanker with baffles (adapted from Fig 202 Load Restraint Guide)

This is particularly a problem with partly filled tanks and sideways movements of liquid as they can impact on the roll stability of the vehicle.

Partly filled tanker – Sideways liquid movement
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