Lorries in the workplace

Accidents caused by moving lorries at the workplace caused 2 deaths, 79 major injuries and 249 over-3-day injuries to employees in the ‘freight by road’ industry, in the 2009/10 work year. Accidents included drivers being crushed whilst coupling trailers to trucks, being hit by other vehicles (particularly fork trucks) while out of their cabs, and people being crushed by reversing vehicles.

Measures to reduce the risk of lorry accidents include :

  • Keeping all pedestrians away from general vehicle (e.g. truck and forklift) routes on site;
  • Co-operation between delivering and receiving companies to ensure you deliver safely;
  • Minimise the need for reversing. Where it can’t be avoided, ensure reversing areas are well designed, pedestrians are kept away, and provide aids such as reversing alarms, vehicle-CCTV and trained marshalls where appropriate. 
  • Make sure drivers are aware that truck and trailer parking brakes should always be used. Never rely on ground being completely level. 'Spoken word' handbrake warning devices may be appropriate.

 

Falls from vehicles

Accidents caused by moving lorries at the workplace caused 2 deaths, 79 major injuries and 249 over-3-day injuries to employees in the ‘freight by road’ industry, in the 2009/10 work year. Accidents included drivers being crushed whilst coupling trailers to trucks, being hit by other vehicles (particularly fork trucks) while out of their cabs, and people being crushed by reversing vehicles.

Measures to reduce the risk of falls include:

  • avoiding the need for climbing onto trailers where possible;
  • providing steps and handholds where access is still required;
  • looking for safety features when buying a new vehicle;
  • trying out different types of footwear to see which provides most slip-resistance for the environment employees will be working in;
  • workers should never have their back to the edge of the trailer if they are within 1 metre of it. Never walk backwards on a trailer;
  • don’t jump from a truck cab or trailer;
  • regularly check the condition of hand-holds to detect deterioration in load-bearing capacity.

 

Load security

3 deaths and 160 major injuries in the 'freight by road' industry were caused by objects falling onto people in the 2009/10 work year. 740 more people received injuries severe enough to keep them off work for over three days.

Measures for reducing these accidents include;

  • Follow the Department for Transport Code of Practice 
  • Think about how the load can be made safe for offloading, as well as while being transported on the road. Could a load shift during transit? Could this present a risk to the driver when they open back doors, release curtain sides, or undo chains or strapping?
  • Ensure drivers have a safe area to observe from when the vehicle is being loaded or unloaded, not next to the vehicle where there could be hit by a fork lift truck or falling load
  • Never rely on curtain sides to hold a load in place
  • Encourage drivers to report near misses and damaged equipment
  • Get information from companies you are delivering or collecting from about facilities and off-loading arrangements on their site, before you visit.

The main UK guidance regarding the security of loads is the free Department for Transport Code of Practice: Safety of loads on vehicles. Image removed.Image removed.

 

Car transporters

Falls from car transporters, often from the upper decks, can result in death or serious injuries. Serious accidents often involve people falling more than 2 metres over the edges. Lower falls occur, including through openings in the decking and from ladders.

 

Legislation that applies

The requirements of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 apply. Employers have to avoid work at height where this is reasonably practicable and, where it is not, prevent falls as far as reasonably practicable.

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) apply to both new and existing vehicles. The Regulations should be applied proportionately and sensibly to the risks.

 

Risk assessment

Duty holders should carry out an assessment of the risks associated with the movement of vehicles on and off car transporters. The assessment should identify the hazards, evaluate the risks and determine the precautions for each category of vehicle and for each design of transporter.

Drivers should be fully involved in all aspects of developing safe systems of work with transporters. Their knowledge and experience can significantly contribute to solving problems.

Assessments should generally consider:

  • Edge protection - Upper decks can be 2 metres or more above the ground. The industry has agreed that it is reasonable and relatively inexpensive to fit safety rails where there is a risk of falling with the potential to cause injury.
  • Lower deck - On the lower deck, space is often needed for items such as hydraulic rams to move, or to gain access for regular maintenance. Operators should provide, so far as possible, a solid surface to allow work standing on the lower deck.
  • Slips and trips - Where possible, all surfaces should be maintained free from potential tripping and slipping hazards. If the risk assessment indicates that a significant slipping risk remains after taking reasonable precautions then anti slip footwear should be provided and worn while working on a car transporter.
  • Ladders - should only be considered for light work of short duration and where the use of other more suitable work equipment is not appropriate. All ladders should be of sufficient height, width and strength, and securely fixed in position.
  • Lighting – Vehicles should only be loaded/unloaded in areas where the lighting is adequate.

 

Loading and unloading at car dealers

The practice of loading and unloading car transporters on the road is widespread. Solutions to this problem depend on long-term co-operation between the dealer and the haulier. Planning deliveries and risk assessment of sites in advance can often help.

  • Training - All drivers, maintenance staff and other persons should be adequately trained in the hazards and precautions identified in the risk assessments. Employers should keep adequate training records to demonstrate that training has been carried out.

Particular attention should be given to the precautions which should be adopted for:

  • parts of car transporters carrying normal width vehicles where rails or deck gap covers may not reasonably be fitted; and
  • carrying wide-bodied vehicles on upper decks.
  • familiarisation training on new vehicles to minimise the risk of driver error, for example, automatics, four by fours, and left hand drive vehicles.
  • any activities that may lead to sudden unexpected movement that may result in either a slip, fall or muscle injury.

 

Slips and trips

There were 482 major injuries and 1388 over-3-day injuries in the ‘freight by road’ industry reported in 2009/10 work year, caused by slips or trips.

People do not slip or trip by chance. Simple steps can be taken to greatly reduce the risk of employees having these accidents.

Measures to reduce the risk of slips and trips include:

  • Consider floor slip resistance, especially around the edges, when buying a new trailer or tail lift.
  • Try out different types of footwear to see which provides most slip-resistance for the environments employees will be working in. Remember that ‘oil resistant’ has nothing to do with slip resistance.
  • Good housekeeping – encourage a ‘see it, clear it’ culture to keep trucks, trailers and the workplace tidy.
  • If your site has it’s own diesel tank, build a simple bricked kerb to contain small diesel spills, and provide materials (detergents, sand) near the tank, in case of accidental spills.
  • Try to avoid the need to carry large or heavy objects over slippery surfaces – these can obscure a person’s view and prevent them catching their fall if they do slip.
  • Ensure drivers remain alert to the risk of obstacles and kerbs when climbing down from the cab.

 

Icy conditions and winter weather

There are effective actions that you can take to reduce the risk of a slip or trip during the winter motnhs. Regardless of the size of your site, always ensure that regularly used walkways are promptly tackled.

The following provide some advice on how to address these issues.

 

Trucks and trailers

The research document The underlying causes of falls from vehicles (RR437) includes detailed extra guidance for trucks and trailers, including the slip resistance properties of different types of trailer floors, truck access steps, and tail-lifts.

 

For more information, go to the main HSE Slips website .

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