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  • Writer's pictureFront Range Compliance

Securement Devices and Their Limits

When securing cargo and machinery, there are many different securement devices approved for use by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Each of these devices is different, and in turn has its own limitations.

Synthetic Webbing

The FMCSA allows truck drivers to use steel strapping, chain, synthetic webbing, wire rope, and cordage when securing their load. It is important that drivers use the proper amount of tiedowns, with the proper working load limit (WLL), to secure their load for both weight and length.


There must be - one tiedown for articles 5 ft or less in length, and 1,100 lbs or less in weight; two tiedowns if the article is:

  • 5 ft or less in length and more than 1,100 lbs in weight; or

  • greater than 5 ft but less than 10 ft, regardless of weight.

There are a lot of questions about WLL, and it is often mixed up with breaking strength. The WLL is the maximum load limit specified by the manufacturer and indicated in the component or system. Before using a tiedown to secure your load, always make sure to look at the WLL before use as it is the maximum allowable loading force. The WLL is always 1/3 of the breaking strength. So if a chain has a breaking strength of 24,000 pounds, then the strap will have a working load limit of 8,000 pounds. Mixing up breaking strength and WLL could be catastrophic for your load and your company.

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Ensure drivers understand WLL and proper securement techniques!

Train your drivers to ensure they know how to secure loads for both weight and length with our online Cargo Securement & Securement of Machinery class through DOT University. Use code FRCS25 for $25 off the purchase of the class!

While it is imperative that you don't mix up WLL and breaking strength, the breaking strength is still very important. It refers to the point at which the device will break, and will fail if you go over the amount listed on the device. When a ratchet strap is made with webbing, end fittings, and a ratchet all with a 10,000-pound breaking strength, then the break strength of the overall product will stay 10,000 pounds. However, if the same strap has a ratchet with an 8,000-pound break strength, then that would reduce the product's strength to 8,000.

NEVER use tiedowns that are securing a load higher than their WLL. If you do, you are putting yourself, your company, your load, and others on the road at risk. If your load shifts this could cause your trailer to topple over or you may lose the load entirely.


According to the FMCSA, the working load limit on any securement system, say a tie-down assembly, used to secure a load against moving either sideways or back and forth should at least be half the weight of the secured shipment.


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Make sure to check also out our online DOT Training platform, DOT University! We are currently offering Reasonable Suspicion for Supervisors, Cargo Securement, Defensive Driving, and Pre/Post Trip Inspection. In the coming months, we plan on releasing DOT Compliance Essentials and Periodic Annual Inspection Qualification Training (Appendix A).


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