‘Workplace Transport’ covers a range of vehicles, including cars, vans, lorries and lift trucks. It is any vehicle or piece of mobile equipment used in any work setting. However, vehicles operating on the public road are normally excluded because road traffic law is applied in most circumstances. Therefore, this article focuses on vehicles operating at site, rather than on the public road.
Vehicles movements on site such as forklift trucks and delivery lorries are a major cause of workplace injuries. For the past 10 years, there have been an average of 61 vehicle-related work fatalities per year. In addition, annually there have been over 2000 major injuries and over 4000 injuries requiring the injured person to be off work for more than 3 days.
Due to the high number of workplace injuries involving workplace transport this area is frequently targeted by inspectors. In fact, the HSE has recently recommended that Workplace Transport is included as a topic area for local authority inspections.
1. What the law says
Every employer must conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the risks their employees and customers are exposed to. This may include workplace transport and should identify sensible and proportionate measures to control these risks.
The employer must then organise the workplace in a way that allows pedestrians and vehicles to circulate in a safe manner.
2. The Risk Assessment
Companies should identify the work activities involving vehicles (including visiting vehicles) over a reasonable period (for example over the course of a week). Example of things to be assessed may include arrival and departure, traffic routes, vehicle and pedestrian movements and segregation, loading and unloading, securing of loads, coupling and vehicle maintenance work.
You should look at the use of vehicles at the site. Are they suitable for the task they are performing? Do operators stick to the site’s speed limit? Are loading and unloading activities properly controlled?
Consider whether drivers are under pressure to complete their work and therefore not operating safely. You should check that operators are not taking unnecessary risks and are using vehicles in accordance with their training.
Wherever possible, you should put in control measures to segregate workers and customers of moving vehicles at the site.
3. Control Measures
Control measures can be extensive but may include any or all of the following (this list is by no means exhaustive):
- introduction of site speed limits – use clear signage at the site entrance and in other areas.
- designated customer parking bays and areas.
- marked pedestrian walkways and crossings.
- limit pedestrian access to certain areas of the site.
- mirrors on blind bends and corners.
- warehouse and yard areas being barred from pedestrian access during vehicle use.
- designated unloading bays.
- one way systems to reduce or eliminate the need for reversing at the site.
- use of trained banksmen if reversing is unavoidable.
- the use of high visibility clothing.
- signage warning customers of hazards such as forklift truck movements
It is important that with the aid of the risk assessment, practical control measures are determined and are enforced by management. Non-compliance by employees should be dealt with appropriately and swiftly due to the possible serious outcome of a workplace transport accident. Workplace transport training can assist in highlighting the hazards of a builder’s merchant yard to employees.
4. What to do about workplace transport
We offer online workplace transport and banksmen training which will assist in highlighting the risks from workplace transport to your employees. Completed in 10 mins this training could prove vital in defending a prosecution or claim.
We will assist in putting together your workplace transport risk assessments and can ensure through routine Health and Safety site audits that the control measures recommended are being implemented and enforced at ground level.