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Workplace transport is the second largest cause of accidents in the workplace. Each year around 70 people are killed and 2000 seriously injured.
There are also around 5000 injuries that cause people to be off work for more than three days in accidents involving vehicles in and around workplaces. The majority of these can be prevented.
Workplace transport means any vehicle that is used in a work setting. It specifically excludes transport on the public highway, air, rail or water transport, and specialised transport used in underground mining.
There are a number of specific legal duties that are applicable to workplace transport activities but the principle legal duty on employers is, so far as is reasonably practicable, to provide and maintain safe systems of work, and to take all reasonably practicable precautions to ensure the health and safety of all workers in the workplace and members of the public who might be affected by their work activities.
Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers and self-employed people to assess the risks to workers and anyone else who may be affected by their work activities. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and other legislation covering particular hazards or sectors of work require appropriate and preventative measures to be taken in relation to risks identified. These requirements apply to all work activities, including workplace transport, such as deliveries, operating lift trucks, loading operations, car parking and maintenance.
As with all work activities an employer must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of employees and others affected by work activities.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have identified four main activities where accidents occur and need attention:
- Moving vehicles hitting or running over people
- People falling off workplace vehicles
- Workplace vehicles overturning
- Objects falling off workplace vehicles
There is a vast amount of information available on the HSE's website relating to workplace transport. Information contained below is taken from this website.
The following checklist indicates things that you should look at when trying to identify the hazards associated with vehicle activities and assessing whether existing precautions are adequate.
The checklist gives some commonsense ideas for reducing risks. It will not necessarily be comprehensive or relevant for all work situations. If in doubt contact the Health & Safety Enforcement Team for advice on Tel: 0115 9156753 or email: email@example.com
1. Check that the layout of routes is appropriate for the vehicle and pedestrian activities at the workplace.
- Are vehicles and pedestrians kept safely apart?
- Are there suitable pedestrian crossing points on vehicle routes?
- Are there suitable parking areas for all parking needs?
- Do the vehicle routes avoid sharp or blind bends?
- Is there scope for introducing a one-way system on vehicle routes within the workplace to reduce the risk of collisions?
2. Check that vehicle traffic routes are suitable for the type and quantity of vehicles which use them.
- Are they wide enough?
- Are they well constructed, i.e. do they have firm and even surfaces?
- Are they free from obstructions and other hazards?
- Are they well maintained?
3. Check that suitable safety features are provided where appropriate.
- Are roadways marked where necessary, e.g. to indicate the right of way at road junctions?
- Is there a need for direction signs, speed limit signs, and, where applicable, signs such as give way, no entry etc?
- Is there a need for features such as fixed mirrors to provide greater vision at blind bends, road humps to reduce vehicle speeds, or barriers to keep vehicles and pedestrians apart?
4. Check that vehicles at your workplace are safe and suitable for the work for which they are being used.
- Do they have suitable and effective service and parking brakes?
- Are they provided with horns, lights, reflectors, reversing lights and other safety features as necessary?
- Do they have seats and, where necessary, seat belts that are safe and allow for driver comfort?
- Are there guards on dangerous parts of the vehicles, e.g. power take-offs, chain drives, exposed exhaust pipes?
- Do drivers need protection against bad weather conditions, or against an unpleasant working environment, e.g. against the cold, dirt, dust, fumes, and excessive noise and vibration?
- Is there a safe means of access to and exit from the cabs and other parts that need to be reached?
- Is there a need for driver protection against injury in the event of an overturn, and to prevent the driver being hit by falling objects?
5. Check that the vehicles are subject to appropriate maintenance procedures.
- Do drivers carry out basic safety checks before using vehicles?
- Is there a regular preventive maintenance programme for each vehicle, carried out at predetermined intervals of time or mileage?
6. Check your selection and training procedures to ensure that your drivers and other employees are capable of performing their work activities in a safe and responsible manner.
- Do you check the previous experience of your drivers and test them to ensure that they are competent?
- Do you provide training on how to do the job and information about particular hazards?
- Do you have a planned programme of refresher training for drivers and other employees to ensure their continued competence?
- Do you check your drivers licenses frequently for points or disqualification?
7. Check what your drivers and other employees actually do when undertaking their work activities.
- Do your drivers drive with care, e.g. use the correct routes, drive within the speed limit at the site and follow any other site rules?
- Do they park safely, and in safe locations?
- Are your employees using safe working practices, e.g. when loading/unloading, securing loads, carrying out maintenance etc?
- Do your drivers and other employees have to rush to complete their work on time, or is there a risk of accidents caused by fatigue as a result of excessive working hours?
8. Check, in consultation with your employees, that your level of management control/ supervision is suitable.
- Are your supervisors, drivers and other employees, including contractors and visiting drivers, aware of the site rules and aware of their responsibilities in terms of maintaining a safe workplace and safe working practices?
- Is everyone at the workplace supervised and held accountable for their responsibilities, and is a clear system of penalties enforced when employees, contractors etc fail to maintain standards?
9. Check that the need for reversing manoeuvres is kept to a minimum, and where reversing is necessary that it is undertaken safely and in safe areas.
- Is there scope for introducing one-way systems on routes to reduce the need for reversing manoeuvres?
- Is there a need to identify and mark 'reversing areas' so that these are clear to both drivers and pedestrians?
- Can you exclude non-essential personnel from areas where reversing is common?
- Is there a need for a signaler (banksman) to direct reversing vehicles?
- Are there external side-mounted and rear-view mirrors on vehicles to provide optimum all-round visibility?
- Do the vehicles have reversing alarms?
10. Check that drivers take care when parking their vehicles, including their own private cars, and that they park in safe locations.
- Do your drivers use the designated parking areas?
- Do they always ensure that their vehicles and trailers are securely braked and secured before leaving them parked?
11. Check that loading and unloading operations are carried out safely.
- Are loading/unloading operations carried out in an area away from passing traffic, pedestrians and others not involved in the loading/unloading operation?
- Are loading/unloading activities carried out using safe systems of work on ground that is flat, firm and free from potholes?
- Are the vehicles braked and/or stabilised, as appropriate, to prevent unsafe movements during loading and unloading operations?
- Is the loading/unloading carried out so that, as far as possible, the load is spread evenly to avoid the vehicle or trailer becoming unstable?
- Are checks made to ensure that loads are secured and arranged so that they cannot move about, e.g. slide forward if the driver has to brake suddenly, or slide off if the vehicle has to negotiate steep inclines?
- Are there checks to ensure that vehicles are not loaded beyond their capacity?
- Have good lighting in all areas - check bulbs regularly
- Keep delivery areas tidy – remove crates, bins, rubbish etc
- Mark out with paint, parking areas for vehicles
- Keep pedestrians apart from vehicles
- Get a high visibility vest or jacket and wear it
- Avoid reversing if possible – could you make your site one way?
- Send information about your site to drivers before they arrive
- Drivers - check you have site information before you leave your depot
- Mirrors can help cope with blind spots – keep them clean
- Drivers stay in the cab, safe area or rest room during loading/unloading