How to secure loads on flatbed trailers

Written by cody sorensen
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How to secure loads on flatbed trailers
Guardrails protect the straps from possible damage. (flatbed truck, forklift image by Greg Pickens from

The most common devices used to secure cargo loads on flatbed trailers are 4-inch polyester webbing flat hook cargo straps. The straps used must meet all the requirements of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Each strap has a working load limit of 2268 Kilogram and 30-foot straps are the most versatile for securing high and low loads. The straps are secured by attaching the hook side to one side of the trailer and the webbing to a winch on the other side of the trailer. A winch bar inserted into the winch pulls the strap tight, securing the load to the trailer.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 12 4-inch flat hook cargo straps, 30-foot
  • Trailer with mounted winches
  • Winch bar

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  1. 1

    Instruct the operator loading the flatbed to keep all cargo as close together as possible. This ensures the cargo doesn't shift while in transit. Load the freight in alignment with the winches on the trailer. This makes it easier for you to get your straps over the centre of the cargo.

  2. 2

    Hook two straps to one side of the trailer where the first piece of cargo sits on the trailer. This is usually at the front end of the trailer. Toss the straps up over the cargo so that they hang down on the other side of the trailer where the winches are located.

  3. 3

    Walk around to the other side of the trailer where the straps are hanging down and thread the end of each strap through the slits in the winches. Pull the excess strap all the way through the slit and then roll it up and slide it in between the trailer crash barrier and the strap going back up over the trailer. You may have to pull the strap going back up over the trailer out a little bit to accommodate the rolled up strap.

  4. 4

    Insert the tip of the winch bar through the winch hole and crank it down toward the ground by pulling on it with your hands and body weight. Keep the excess roll of strapping inside the strap during this tightening process until the roll is sucked into the winch.

  5. 5

    Throw two straps over the end pieces of cargo on the trailer and winch them down. Throw one strap over all cargo in between the front and rear pieces of cargo. Winch them all tight.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep an eye on the straps as you drive down the road. Check them whenever you stop for fuel. Tighten them as needed.
  • Use more straps than the load weight requires just to be on the safe side.
  • Use as many straps as your load weighs or the load could break free during transit. Each strap has a working load limit of 2.27 Kilogram. You will need to use 10 straps if your load weighs 22.7 Kilogram.

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