Cargo lashing straps are an indispensable part of cargo restraint throughout the shipping and logistics industry. These straps are extremely strong and versatile devices that can ensure cargo of all shapes and sizes are properly restrained to avoid any damage to the goods themselves or to personnel working in warehouses and shipping yards.
However, the use of lashing straps for cargo restraint requires consideration of safety protocols, as failed lashing straps can result in injury and damaged property. Here are some key tips for ensuring safety when using lashing straps as a cargo restraint system.
Chose the right type
There are many types of lashing straps available on the market, made from varying materials and ranging in quality and strength. It’s important to ensure that the lashing strap you choose is adequately rated to restrain the size and weight of the cargo in question.
Quality lashing straps are typically made from polyester fibres, which are extremely strong and durable. They are capable of withstanding a significant amount of stress and are typically good at resisting abrasion. They are also resistant to UV degradation and moisture damage. When combined with galvanised steel buckles, hooks and ratchets, these lashing straps are very strong.
At X-Pak Global, we have various types of lashing available depending on the required strength. Our Cargo-Lash product, for example, is particularly popular as it can be adjusted to secure freight of all kinds inside containers. It can also be used to lash very heavy items onto flat racks for trucking and other purposes. Cargo-Lash is capable of holding up to 7 250 kgs worth of weight and is, therefore, considered to be a very good and reliable lashing option.
However, there are other lashing products on the market that are not rated as strong or are perhaps not made from durable materials. That’s why you must check the lashing rating before applying it to your cargo, to ensure the lashing doesn’t fail in transit, which could have potentially catastrophic results.
Ensure Thorough Inspections
Not only is it critically important that the personnel applying the lashing are adequately trained and experienced in securing cargo safely, but it is also essential that the work be double and even triple-checked before the goods are sent on their way.
All the straps should be thoroughly inspected before being used and again after being applied for any sign of wear and tear ‒ especially signs of fraying or cuts in the polyester fibres. This needs to be detected as early as possible. Should any straps exhibit these features, then the lashing should be removed and replaced with lashing that is in better condition.
Not only should the lashing straps themselves be thoroughly inspected, but the hardware used to secure them should also be thoroughly assessed to ensure their integrity. This includes things like hooks and buckles, which can also break after extended use or if exposed to enough adverse weather conditions, causing corrosion over time.
Ratchets, buckles and hooks should be stress-tested regularly to ensure their reliability and safety. Another important thing to inspect before departure is whether the straps have been correctly placed. Straps should not be twisted but rather lie flat against the cargo to ensure minimal movement occurs.
Use Lashing In Conjunction With Other Systems
While lashing systems are extremely strong and dependable in and of themselves, they frequently benefit from the application of other complementary systems, which all work together to ensure the cargo’s safe and secure delivery to its destination.
Among the added devices that should be used to complement lashing are edge protectors. Edge protectors are simply small plastic corners fitted onto the sharp edges of cargo where strapping and lashing are attached.
By adding corner protectors, you can prevent the lashing straps from abrasion damage or from being cut by sharp edges on cargo corners. This is particularly important when cargo is being transported over long distances, and a significant amount of vibration is likely to occur along the way, which could cause the lashing straps to be cut. Notably, this could result in cargo restraint failure incidents.
Dunnage bags can also play an important role in assisting the lashing in keeping your cargo restrained and secure throughout its journey. Dunnage bags can be inflated to brace cargo inside containers and limit their movement when used in combination with lashing straps. This can significantly improve the safety of your cargo throughout its journey.
Ensure Proper Training Of Cargo Handling Personnel
When using lashing straps, a cargo restraint failure can have significant consequences, which is why those who apply the lashing straps must be properly trained to apply them correctly.
When applying lashing straps, even tension is critical, as poorly applied tension can lead to slippage and the ultimate failure of the restraint system as a whole. Even tension should be applied using the ratchet and or buckle systems.
However, the straps should also not be over-tensioned as this can cause damage not only to the strap but can also cut into the cargo itself and damage the goods in transit.
Proper training will also help the personnel responsible for applying the lashing straps to know when additional restraints are needed. Additional straps and restraints might need to be applied in situations where the cargo is particularly heavy or bulky. This is particularly useful when transporting extraordinarily large or heavy goods, such as industrial equipment, construction materials, or machinery.
Having adequately trained personnel can go a long way toward protecting your cargo by ensuring that the lashing is properly rated as well. A properly trained lashing expert will know the type of lashing that is most appropriate for the given situation, which is also an important part of ensuring that the lashing does not fail.
For more information on our cargo lashing straps, contact us at X-Pak Global today. We have a range of lashing solutions to suit your securement needs.