Negligence in Cargo Securing Leads to Severe Injury

This case study delves into an incident where a worker was severely injured by unsecured cargo, highlighting the importance of adhering to safety standards outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA).

ByZach Barreto


Published on February 27, 2024

Loading bales of hay onto trailer

Case Overview

This case involves an individual employed by a prominent oil and gas conglomerate who sustained severe injuries during an assignment outside their regular job duties. The plaintiff and a colleague were instructed to collect bales of hay from a retailer for erosion control purposes. Upon reaching the retailer's premises, they were directed to load the required hay cubes from tractor-trailers.

Each hay cube weighed approximately 400 pounds and was allegedly stacked without any securing measures to prevent them from falling. During the unloading process, one of these heavy cubes fell on the plaintiff, causing significant injuries. The central issue in this case is determining whether the hay retailer's negligence in adhering to safety standards outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) contributed to this incident.

Questions to the Trucking expert and their responses


Please describe your familiarity with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act as it relates to this incident.

With over four decades of experience in trucking and transportation management and safety, I have extensive knowledge of FMCSA Regulations, including those related to cargo securement.

As part of my consultancy role in transportation safety and compliance, I conduct risk assessments, develop policies and procedures, provide training sessions, review contracts, and ensure compliance with various regulations including those set forth by FMCSA.


What safety standards were not met here as outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier's Safety Act that could have prevented this incident?

Several safety standards outlined by the FMCSA could have potentially mitigated this incident. Specifically, 49CFR part 393 subpart I sec 100-136 covers regulations on securing cargo to protect against shifting and falling. Additionally, OSHA’s General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), which requires each employer to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm, may also apply here.


Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If yes, please elaborate.

As an expert in transportation safety, I have reviewed numerous cases involving cargo securement and the associated regulations. Each case presents unique circumstances, but the common thread is often a failure to adhere to established safety standards.

About the expert

This expert boasts over four decades of experience in trucking and transportation management and safety, holding an MBA in Transportation Management and a Master's Certificate from the US Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Safety Management Program. They have served as a Director of Safety at multiple logistics companies and currently hold a similar role at a prominent trucking company while managing a transportation safety and compliance consultancy. Their extensive career, marked by recognition as a Safety Professional of the Year in two states, positions them as an authority on matters related to transportation safety standards, including those outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act.

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About the author

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto is a distinguished professional in the legal industry, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Research at the Expert Institute. With a deep understanding of a broad range of legal practice areas, Zach's expertise encompasses personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, defective products, and many other sectors. His skills are particularly evident in handling complex litigation matters, including high-profile cases like the Opioids litigation, NFL Concussion Litigation, California Wildfires, 3M earplugs, Elmiron, Transvaginal Mesh, NFL Concussion Litigation, Roundup, Camp Lejeune, Hernia Mesh, IVC filters, Paraquat, Paragard, Talcum Powder, Zantac, and many others.

Under his leadership, the Expert Institute’s research team has expanded impressively from a single member to a robust team of 100 professionals over the last decade. This growth reflects his ability to navigate the intricate and demanding landscape of legal research and expert recruitment effectively. Zach has been instrumental in working on nationally significant litigation matters, including cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic chemical exposure, and wrongful death, among others.

At the Expert Institute, Zach is responsible for managing all aspects of the research department and developing strategic institutional relationships. He plays a key role in equipping attorneys for success through expert consulting, case management, strategic research, and expert due diligence provided by the Institute’s cloud-based legal services platform, Expert iQ.

Educationally, Zach holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and European History from Vanderbilt University.

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