SPECIAL REPORT: FMCSA’s amended cargo securement regs

| 6/23/2006

As of July 24, truckers in the U.S. will be operating under revised cargo securement regulations - which have been in the works at FMCSA for several years.

The "final rule" was published Thursday, June 22, in the Federal Register and incorporates most of the regs proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in December 2000 and reflected in the agency's previous "final rule" on the topic, which was issued in September 2002. That rule went into effect in January 2004.

For the latest "final rule," agency officials wrote that "this rulemaking will make only minor amendments and editorial (typographical) corrections to FMCSA's Sept. 27, 2002, final rule establishing new regulations concerning protection against shifting and falling cargo for CMVs operated in interstate commerce."

The new rule offers new, carefully crafted government definitions for terms such as "longwood" and "metal coils" including:

  • "Longwood means all logs, including utility poles, that are not shortwood ..."
  • "Metal coil means an article of cargo comprised of elements, mixtures, compounds, or alloys commonly known as metal ... that are packaged as a roll, coil, spool wind or wrap ..."

Rick Craig, OOIDA's director of regulator affairs, said there are a "few changes of some significance," but added that he and other OOIDA staff will need a few days to analyze the new rule to determine how it will effect truckers on the road.

According to the FMCSA's statement on the Federal Register , one goal behind revising the cargo securement regs was to protect truckers.

Officials wrote that the amended rules would "ensure the operation of CMVs does not have a deleterious effect on the physical condition of the operators of vehicles by preventing articles of cargo from shifting forward into the driver's compartment, or shifting upon the vehicle to such an extent that the vehicle's stability of maneuverability is adversely affected and likely to cause a crash ... and ... help prevent serious injuries to CMV drivers that could result from improperly secured loads."

However, one key aspect of driver safety appears to have been left out of the amended regs.

Loads of stone slabs and the A-frames used to secure them are not addressed in the amended cargo regs.

OOIDA Life Member Charlie Parfrey, who owns Parfrey Trucking, has been working for years to raise awareness about the need for better securement regs for such loads.

Another OOIDA member, Steve Mosbrucker of Kahlotus, WA, was a driver for Parfrey Trucking in March 2004 when he was knocked from his flatbed trailer by a piece of falling marble. As the rock fell, it broke apart on the trailer and huge pieces fell on Mosbrucker, who had been knocked to the ground. He was off the job for more than 10 weeks because of injuries.

The A-frame that was holding the load of rock in place had been modified because it wasn't tall enough for the load. Mosbrucker said a crew from the marble company used tape to secure two-by-four extensions to the A-frame and then loaded the stone.

In September of 2005, OSHA issued a " Safety and Health Information Bulletin" on the topic, but FMCSA opted not to add A-frame requirements or discuss flat stone securement in its amended cargo securement rule published this week.

Land Line will provide additional coverage on the revised cargo securement regs after trucking industry officials have analyzed them.

- By Coral Beach, staff editor