Farmers have been urged to ensure that they secure loads when transporting bales of hay, straw and silage following an incident involving bales in the midlands this week.

The incident occurred in the Portlaoise area of Co. Laois yesterday evening (Monday, August 2), according to An Garda Síochána.

In a post urging the public to take heed, local Gardaí based in the Laois-Offaly division said that they had to deal with “the aftermath of a unsecured load on the periphery of Portlaoise”.

“Farm Safety Week 2021 includes road safety. Secure your load and, if the load is too much, have the cop on to split it and make another run,” the blunt Garda post said.

Travelling with an unsecured load poses a number of risks for both the driver of the vehicle and other road users, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has said.

The RSA insists that all loads must be secured even if the vehicle is only travelling a short distance or at low speeds. Unsecured or inadequately secured loads can shift when a vehicle is in motion and may cause:

  • Loss of control of vehicle;
  • Objects to fall on or hit people;
  • Road obstruction or collision where a driver is required to swerve to avoid fallen items;
  • Failure to secure loads properly may also result in financial losses due to damaged goods and vehicles, lost working time, clean up costs and legal costs.

The RSA has said that a load shall not be carried on a vehicle on a public road in such a manner that part of the load is liable to fall on the road.

A load must not drag on the surface of the road, so as to cause damage to the road or to be liable to cause danger, it also advises.

Operators or drivers should employ a load restraint method suitable to the load being carried, according to the RSA.

Load security is not just the sole responsibility of the vehicle driver. Employers, vehicle owners, drivers and loading and unloading staff all have a role to play in ensuring loads are secure, the RSA said.