A quick guide to keeping workplace transport safe

Work Transport

Workplace transport is any activity involving vehicles used in a workplace. Vehicles driven on public roads are not included, except where the vehicle is being loaded or unloaded on a public road adjacent to their workplace.

Every year, there are over 5000 accidents involving transport in the workplace. About 50 of these result in the people being killed. The main cause of injury is due to people falling off vehicles, or being stuck or crushed by them. – www.hse.gov.uk/statistics

  • Workplace transport equipment includes;
  • Forklift trucks
  • Reach trucks
  • Telescopic materials handlers
  • Dumper trucks
  • Road-going vehicles – van and lorries whilst they are on site for loading and unloading.

All employers have a legal obligation to ensure that they do not put their employees, contractors etc at risk as a result of their work. To identify the potential risks of workplace transport, a risk assessment needs to be carried out.

During the risk assessment, your health and safety consultant will assess your premises/workplace, identifying hazards and acknowledging risk factors that have the potential to cause harm. Once identified, they will be analysed, evaluated and then you can see what needs to be put into place in order of prevention.

Once assessed, you can work on how you will prevent certain accidents if they were to occur, and tackle the potential risks associated within your workplace – ensuring you have all necessary first-aid equipment to successfully respond to the injury.

When risk assessments are in place you need to consider, ‘safe place’, ‘safe drivers’ and ‘safe plant’ and how you can act on these. Is your site safe? Are there pedestrian walk ways set out and signs posted where needed? Is there somebody supervising your drivers?

Every workplace is different and therefore are prone to different types of risks; although having a maintained and well planned design of your site/workplace will ensure transport accidents are less likely.

It is imperative to make sure, those who will be driving the vehicles at work are all fully trained and have been formally authorised to drive. You should never allow untrained drivers to access workplace transport vehicles.

As well as ensuring all drivers are qualified, it’s important to supervise your drivers to ensure they follow their training and employ only safe practices.

If your workplace requires dumper trucks, lorries etc and these vehicles require to cross a public road, or have a loading bay near public access, it’s imperative you identify safe pedestrian routes. To ensure full safety it this situation, it’s recommended to put into place a one way system and set speed limits around the premises to reduce potential collisions. However, if this isn’t possible for you then it is highly recommended to have a signaller/banksman present at all times when driving, reversing or turning around large vehicles, i.e lorries and should only be done under controlled circumstances – this has been proven to reduce the risks of hazards as well as setting a speed limit.

The banksman or signaller’s role is to guide drivers and to ensure when the vehicle is reversing that it is not in the way of pedestrians. If your workplace requires a banksman, it’s important that they are fully trained, they are clearly visible to the driver, they understand your procedures put in place and that they stand in a safe position when conducting their job.

When putting safe traffic routes into place, it would be beneficial to consider these points;

  • Make sure routes are wide enough
  • Having sufficient outside lighting
  • Ensure surfaces are suitable for the vehicles and pedestrians using them (no potholes or ditches etc)
  • Avoid steep slopes
  • Avoid blind bends and sharp corners
  • Keep routes clear from obstructions
  • Ensure routes are clearly sign posted
  • Maintain routes regularly (repainting markings etc)

When working with machinery, you are required to establish maintenance routines and programmes to ensure all vehicles are always in full working order. The driver should undertake daily and pre-use inspections and should report faults immediately.

At Safety Forward, we can take you through the process of reducing risks to your employees and advise on improving safety whilst driving at work. We can tailor a specific driver risk assessment to meet your business needs and recommend ways to protect your staff and your transport. Speak to us today on 0330 107 0165 or visit our website https://bit.ly/2SS7s4I