Skip to main content
CFAES Safety and Compliance home

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Load Securement and Towing Safety

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the following requirements apply to the transportation of heavy vehicles, equipment, and machinery, such as agricultural equipment, excavation equipment, and other cargo transported from one location to another on public roadways.

Cargo must be firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by structures of adequate strength, dunnage (loose materials used to support and protect cargo) or dunnage bags (inflatable bags intended to fill space between articles of cargo or between cargo and the wall of the vehicle), shoring bars, tiedowns or a combination of these. Articles of cargo that are likely to roll must be restrained by chocks, wedges, a cradle or other equivalent means to prevent rolling.

The requirements to the transportation of heavy cargo, equipment, and machinery must be secured in accordance with the provisions of FMCSA Drivers Handbook for Cargo Securement - Chapter 10, as well as with the general cargo securement requirements in Chapter 2 (General Cargo Securement Reqiremements) or Chapter 9 (Automobiles, Light Trucks, and Vans).

Preparing Cargo or Equipment To Be Transported

If you’re transporting a piece of equipment or cargo, load securement is a blanket term that refers to all aspects of fastening the piece of equipment or cargo to the vehicle transporting it. Before transporting there are specific rules  and considerations to follow to make sure the piece of equipment or cargo arrives safely at its destination.

- Understand the securement requirements.
- Understand your securement devices.
- Know the dimensions and weight of your cargo or equipment.
- Be aware of the capacity of your truck / trailer.
- Verify whether you’ll need an oversized/overweight permit.
- Take time to inspect your hauling vehicle, trailer and anchor points.
- Develop a securement system plan that will properly distribute weight and can withstand the force requirements.
- Lower and secure all vehicle and accessory equipment.
- Apply the equipment’s parking brake.
- Follow the DOT tie-down requirements.
- Ensure loaded equipment will be contained, immobilized or secured.
- Confirm equipment loaded will not interfere with transport operation.

How well must the securement system work?
Each cargo securement system must be able to withstand a minimum amount of force in each direction.

  • Forward Force = 80% of cargo weight when braking while driving straight ahead.
  • Rearward Force = 50% of cargo weight when accelerating, shifting gears while climbing a hill, or braking in reverse.
  • Sideways Force = 50% of cargo weight when turning, changing lanes, or braking while turning.
  • Upward Force = 20% of cargo weight when traveling over bumps in the road or cresting a hill.

Illustration of a truck with weights

The cargo is considered "Fully Contained" when these requirements are satisfied.

CFAES Safety Training Program
Facility managers, faculty, or supervisors of areas where equipment or materials are transported on public roadways need to ensure that employees are provided safety training. Any employee or student who participates in transporting cargo or equipment activities as a part of employment or as a course requirement is subject to safety training related to the above information. Supervisors are also responsible for reveiwing specific load securement processes for the safe transporatation of the specific equipment or materials being hauled.


The College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has established a training program that enphasizes compliance guidlines and minimizes risk of an unsecure load incident. The training is based on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requirements, and the "Securing the Load" guidebook from Purdue University.

The training is designed to be a four step process:

  1. Review Safe Trailering Driver Education.

  2. Review the following video: Proper Load Securement | DOT Compliance when Hauling Equipment

  3. Review the Questions section of "Secure the Load"

  4. Fill out a Secure Load Best Practice Checkist for the equipment / material being hauled.

Note: For boat trailering: All individuals operating a motorized boat need to take the ODNR Ohio Boater Education Course and reveiw the training at Boat Towing and Trailering

A signed copy of the checklist should be kept on file with the facility managers, faculty, or supervisor.

A checklist should be initially completed for the process of securing the specific piece(s) of equipment. The checklist should be reviewed every time the piece of equipment is loaded and secured. If the equipment, materials, or securement methods change, a new checklist should be created.


FMCSA Drivers Handbook for Cargo Securement
Secure the Load Guidebook - Purdue
Secure Load Best Practice Checklist
Definitive Guide to Safe Towing
Trailer Safety Week: Towing Safety Articles
Trailering 101: A guide for safe towing
ODNR Ohio Boater Education
State Farm - Boat Trailer Safety
Boat Towing and Trailering
Ohio CDL Manual


If you have any questions regarding secure load procedures, please contact Kent McGuire at or 292-0588. You may also contact the OSU Environmental Health and Safety Office online at or by phone at (614) 292-1284.

Reviewed / Updated: 6/17/21 K. McGuire