How to transport fragile and hazardous goods in a van safely

If only delivering goods was as simple as loading up the van and getting on your merry way. In reality, it takes a great deal of knowledge and skill to load a van correctly, and to transport goods in the safest possible way.
Before you can pack up your vehicle and start delivering items to your customers, you need to have a van insurance policy in place. Comparing quotes for van insurance can be time consuming, so why not let Insurance Factory do the hard work for you?
We have access to a leading panel of insurers and strive to find you competitive cover for a great price. Van insurance doesn’t just protect the vehicle – it protects you, your business and your customers’ goods. We’ll take the time to understand the needs of your business, before finding a policy tailored specifically to those needs.

Safely in, safely out

As we’ve mentioned, there’s a fine art to loading a delivery van. If you usually transport fragile or hazardous goods, then knowing the best way to pack the items is even more important. Here are some pointers you might find useful.

Loading your van

Big items first

It’s pretty logical that when you’re loading your van at the start of the day, the big and heavy items should be loaded first. As AnyVan notes, this will allow you to slot in small and fragile items later on, helping to ensure breakable items don’t get squashed!
Bear in mind, though, that heavy items should be evenly distributed across your van’s floor space – if possible, in the areas that are most structurally sound. Fragile items like mirrors or pictures should be secured along the van of the wall.

Ensure an even load

First things first: do not exceed your van’s load capacity, as doing so could impact the stability (and therefore safety) of your van. Try to distribute the weight of the load evenly, but refrain from stacking items too high as they could topple over during transit – which could be disastrous if those items are fragile!

Packaging makes perfect

Packaging is so important if you’re transporting fragile goods. Depending on the type of fragile items in transit, you should consider things like straps, ropes, packing tape, bubble wrap, plastic sheeting, or maybe even boxes and crates. The right solution will depend on the size of the item, as well as how fragile it is.
It’s good practice to write ‘fragile’ on boxes, more of a note to self so that you remember to handle them with extra care when you unload them from your van.

Create a barrier

An innocent-looking box could turn dangerous if it was propelled into the air because you were forced to brake suddenly. Securing your items will prevent something like this happening, and so too will creating a barrier between you and the goods.
If your van doesn’t have a built-in load guard, think about creating one using mesh, netting or a sturdy piece of plywood.

Transporting your goods

Silver courier van travelling along motorway at evening

Notify other drivers

If the goods inside your van are hazardous or fragile, it could be helpful to let other drivers know by placing a sign or sticker on the back of your van. Hopefully then, drivers will understand that you’re driving a little slower because of your load, and they’ll keep their distance.

Control your speed and braking

It goes without saying, if you’re carrying fragile or hazardous items, then you need to take the road as carefully as possible. Accelerating quickly or braking suddenly can cause items to move around the van, and potentially break. Also bear in mind that the weight of the load will have an impact on your van’s steering, so you’ll have to compensate accordingly. Slow and steady really does win the race!

Unloading your van

Pick the right unloading zone

You may be keen to get the goods unloaded from your van, but make sure you pull up in a safe area. Ideally, an area that’s away from traffic and any other obstructions, so that you can take your time without worrying that you’re bothering anyone else, and without being asked to move on!

Open the doors carefully

Despite your best efforts at securing every single item within your van, it’s very possible that a few things have moved around during transit. With that in mind, be super cautious when you open your van doors. Also look out for signs of a breakage, like broken glass, so you can safely clear it up before unloading the goods.

Guidance for transporting hazardous goods

Hopefully, the tips above will help you to safely deliver customers’ goods day in, day out. If your load contains hazardous items, you need to pack and transport them according to international guidelines. These guidelines classify different types of dangerous goods and explain the necessary qualifications and training drivers need if they regularly handle, process or transport them. The guide can be found on the Gov.UK website.

Get covered with Insurance Factory

If you use your van every day as part of your business, you need more than a standard insurance policy. After all, that van is your livelihood, so it’s vital that you protect it with specialist cover. The right van insurance policy will help protect you, your van, your business and your customers’ goods from the unexpected.
Insurance Factory can compare van insurance for a wide range of trades and uses, including:
  • Couriers
  • Scrap dealers
  • Young drivers
  • Convicted drivers
  • Transportation of fragile and hazardous goods
The policies we find on behalf of our customers are packed with a range of benefits as standard. Plus, we can also arrange a number of optional extras for your van insurance policy, such as:
  • Guaranteed 14-day van replacement
  • Instant cover
  • Excess protection
  • Breakdown, accidental and tool cover
  • 14 day like-for-like van hire
  • Key cover (not available for vehicles used for hire & reward, such as couriers)
  • Gadget cover
So, if you’re thinking about setting up a delivery business or if your van insurance is due for renewal, let Insurance Factory find you competitively priced cover. Get a free, no-obligation quote today!