The possible tagging of refuse bins with the view to introducing 'charge-by-weight' schemes in the long term is generating much a discussion. There are several companies who offer these systems, including Red Forge Ltd, based in Redditch.

It is easy to forget that there is often a simpler solution to onvehicle weighing, in the form of axle load indication.

“In this safety conscious world, where we operate such stringent controls on health and safety, controlling hazards such as lifting, use of chemicals, fumes, working at heights etc it seems ridiculous that there is no requirement by law to install a simple axle load indicator in the cab of a commercial vehicle. An overloaded commercial vehicle is surely just as dangerous as operating heavy machinery without protective guards,” comments Phil Bridge, Sales Manager for Red Forge.

Overloading causes strain on the vehicle's components beyond their design parameters bringing about side effects such as loss of vehicle stability, added strain on the tyres, increased fuel consumption, not to mention invalidating the insurance and causing excessive wear to roads and carriageways.

“Just as a responsible employer must provide protective footwear, safety helmets and the like as part of their duty of care to their workers, shouldn't the information on a vehicle's load condition also be presented to the drivers, thus making them aware of the potential dangers of overloading and possible prosecutions?”

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) have made giant steps in spotting and targeting operators who potentially and continually overload their vehicles.

For example, in the years 2002/2003 VOSA stopped and weighed 50,223 HGV vehicles and 7,006 LGV's, of which 7.51% of HGVs and almost 21% of LGV's were prohibited for overloading. In 2005/2006 VOSA stopped and weighed 34,912 HGVs and 9,033 LGVs with 14.1% of HGVs and a massive 25% of LGVs prohibited for overloading ' a big leap in the prohibition success rate.

This highlights the rise in accuracy of VOSA in recognising overloaded vehicles in conjunction with the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems. This makes prosecution for overloading an even more likely event in years to come.

“Just like providing protective footwear, the employee has been given the equipment to work safely and efficiently. By providing a simple axle load-indicator the driver of the vehicle has the opportunity to assess the loading on his vehicle before driving off,” he concludes.

The latest range of Axle Load Indication from Red Forge even includes the ability to tie in to a Vehicle Telematics unit, to allow monitoring of the load condition remotely from a depot or head office. For more information, please visit: