Theme report II about safety issues with hooklift transports

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English translation is now available.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN) has completed a new thematic study of the safety of hooklift container transport based on a total of 15 accidents and incidents. Recent similar accidents and incidents in connection with hooklift container transport confirm that there is a need for safety improvements.

Hooklift container transport is a flexible transport solution that is suitable for many purposes. However, the AIBN's most recent study shows that the safety of this form of transport is marginal in that containers still break loose and fall off, which means there is a great injury/damage potential. Stability during transport also varies, and vehicles carrying hooklift containers have been known to tip over as a unit together with the container.

Load tests show that the fixed fastening and securing systems is not sufficient to secure the container to the tractor and trailer. Several safety critical defects in hooklift containers and trailers are documented in the report.

The overall results reinforce the conclusions of the AIBN's previously published thematic report on the safety of hooklift container transport (Report Road 2012/03).

There are no requirements for the design of securing systems for hooklift containers. The standard  SS3021:2014, the most commonly used in the market, contains no requirements for the choice of securing systems, material strength or design, and no guidelines for safe use and maintenance.

All stakeholders can contribute to improving the safety of hooklift container transport. The study involves manufacturers, product suppliers and trade associations, in addition to transport companies and owners of hooklift containers. The study shows that procurement systems and procedures for use and maintenance of such containers and transport equipment in accordance with the supplier's instructions should be improved. It is also important for the enterprises to follow up and facilitate the training of drivers, who need to be aware of the risks involved in driving with poorly adjusted or worn and damaged equipment and who need to be able to assess the need for additional means of securing.

In the AIBN's opinion, the authorities' follow-up and inspection of hooklift container transport is also inadequate, as evidenced by the fact that securing systems is not included in the annual periodic vehicle inspections.

Following its first thematic study of hooklift container transport (Report Road 2012/03) the AIBN issued three safety recommendations, two of which remain to be closed. The AIBN believes that these recommendations still are relevant.

The AIBN issues five safety recommendations in this report.

Safety recommendation

Safety recommendation ROAD No 2016/08T

Based on investigations of 15 accidents/incidents in which containers have fallen off or vehicles overturned, and findings and conclusions from testing assignments carried out by the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, the AIBN is of the opinion that the most frequently used solutions for attaching hooklift containers to a vehicle fail to provide adequate cargo securing. The investigation has shown that there is a gap between the authorities and the users’ perception of the need for additional safety measures.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration consider whether the cargo securing requirements in the Regulations relating to the use of vehicles are met for new and used hooklift containers by using nothing other than the fixed locking system.

Safety recommendation ROAD No 2016/09T

The AIBN has carried out safety investigations of several accidents involving hooklift container transport since 2009. The investigations show that many of the containers have been inadequately secured, and that containers have therefore come loose when exposed to lateral forces. Most hooklift containers on the Norwegian market are built to the Swedish standard SS3021:2014 ‘Road vehicles – Hook lift frames – Dimensions’. The standard contains no cargo securing requirements but covers dimensions and compatibility. The AIBN has found the standard lacking in material safety requirements for the strength of materials and securing systems, as well as requirements for guidance on safe use, maintenance and inspection.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the Federation of Norwegian Industries, in cooperation with other special interest organisations and suppliers, take the initiative to have standard SS3021:2014 revised to improve safety.

Safety recommendation ROAD No 2016/10T

Investigations of hooklift containers and pertaining securing systems have identified inadequacies in the maintenance and inspection procedures of transport enterprises and owners of containers. The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority has also not prioritised inspections in this area, and the industry is not obliged to submit to any third-party inspection of hook-lifts and containers. The AIBN believes that this is an area that places great demands on the driver in terms of daily self-inspection of the vehicle, and that safety can only be ensured by expedient training and follow-up by the enterprises. The AIBN sees a need for the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority to follow up that the relevant enterprises implement such accident prevention activities.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority increase its supervision of the transport industry’s maintenance and inspection procedures for hooklift containers and securing systems.

Safety recommendation ROAD No 2016/11T

The investigation has shown that there is no systematic official inspection of the condition of hooklift containers and attachment points on the vehicles. There is no requirement permanently attached securing devices on hooklift container vehicles to be documented in connection with initial registration, and this is not a checkpoint in connection with annual periodic vehicle inspections. Weaknesses in hooklift containers and hook-lifts are only identified to a limited extent by the NPRA’s roadside inspections when they check cargo securing, and only the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority is authorised under its regulations to perform inspections of hooklift containers and the vehicles’ attachment points. In the AIBN’s view, it is important to ensure more comprehensive inspections of hooklift containers and address safety at all levels.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority coordinate their approval and inspection activities relating to hooklift container transport so as to ensure that safety is addressed overall and in all phases.

Safety recommendation ROAD No 2016/12T

Through its investigations of undesirable incidents involving hooklift container transport, the AIBN has found that the NPRA has assisted the police with technical examinations on several occasions. However, the NPRA lacks a system for reporting and systematic learning based on this information at the national level of the organisation. Seen in light of the NPRA’s role as the agency responsible for supervision of road users and vehicles and with sector responsibility for road safety, the AIBN is of the view that the NPRA should increasingly use the knowledge it acquires through assisting the police to implement measures in its own organisation.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration establish an internal system for reporting and systematic learning based on information acquired in connection with assistance assignments for the police.

Rv 22 i Skedsmo in Akershus County, E16 i Aurland in Sogn og Fjordane County and other roads in Norway.
Occurrence date
Accident type
Tipped over in the roadway
Vehicle type
Lorry, Passenger car, Truck and trailer, Truck and trailer
Type of Transportation
Freight transport, Passenger transport
Accident category
Ulykke m/ kjøretøy over 7500 kg
Skriv ut
Reports same vehicle type