Every year, a significant number of people are killed or seriously injured by accidents involving vehicles in the workplace. In schools, members of staff, students and visitors to the site are vulnerable to being struck by vehicles during drop off and pick up times, and when deliveries are made to the site.

1. Segregation 

As far as possible, it is important to keep moving vehicles away from pedestrians and cyclists. Start with clearly marked pedestrian walkways and crossings, with or without protective barriers or rails, to help direct students, staff and visitors to the school entrance. Incorporate well-marked vehicle routes with signage, speed limits and designated loading/unloading areas away from students and general staff activities into the design of your site. Consider the provision of well-lit cycle stands away from vehicle routes so that students can dismount in safety.

2. Reversing 

Nearly a quarter of all deaths involving vehicles at work occur while vehicles are reversing. Many reversing accidents which don’t result in injury, cause costly damage to machinery, equipment and buildings.

The simplest way of preventing reversing accidents is to make reversing unnecessary. A one-way system through the site will achieve this.

On sites where this is not possible:

  • Special reversing areas should be clearly defined and drivers directed to this area with signage.
  • Staff who do not need to be in reversing areas should keep well clear.
  • All vehicles fitted with reversing alarms or flashing warning lights should be properly maintained to make sure they are always in working order.
  • Physical stops, such as barriers or buffers are a good way to prevent large vehicles from reversing beyond certain points.
  • Keep students away from delivery areas. Consider timing of deliveries; prevent deliveries at student pick up and drop off times.  Provide alternative entrances for delivery vehicles where possible.

3. Lighting

Lighting levels in your school car park, in delivery areas (for example outside catering facilities), and around student and staff entrances should be adequate for safe manoeuvring and loading and unloading. Don’t forget to take into account changing seasons; trees may block lighting when in full leaf, and the winter months may mean that students are coming onto the site in the dark.

4. Communication

The traffic situation outside many schools at pick up and drop off times may be chaotic. Ensure that you communicate with parents about how and when they should pick up and drop off their children. You may also need to liaise with the local authority and/or police if poor driving behaviour is witnessed.

5. Signage

Properly used signage can improve the safety of students and employees, as well as keeping visiting drivers safe.

Signs can:

  • Direct visiting drivers towards safe loading/unloading areas and guide them around one-way systems.
  • Provide a site speed limit to slow traffic movement.
  • Warn about the presence of children on site.

6. Maintenance of Vehicles

School transport vehicles should be subject to regular maintenance so they remain mechanically sound. It is also important that daily pre-use checks are conducted.

7. Training and Fitness to drive 

Every driver needs to carry a licence for the particular type of vehicle to be driven. Drivers should never be under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including prescription medication) that may cause drowsiness. Drivers should never operate a mobile phone or any other portable audio device whilst driving.

8. Time Separation 

Transport safety at your school will vary depending on time of day and season. In addition to physical separation of moving vehicles and pedestrians, consideration should also be given to time separation i.e. restricting deliveries to the quietest times, where possible.

At Southalls, we have spent over a decade working with schools across the UK, advising on-site safety and drafting risk assessments to cover key school hazards. For further advice on health and safety in schools, request your complimentary call with a specialist now.