Vehicles and Transport Safety

When people and vehicles operate together, there is the potential for serious accidents.

Most transport-related accidents involve people being injured as a result of:

•  being hit or run over by moving vehicles

•  being struck by objects falling from vehicles

•  falling from vehicles while loading or unloading

•  vehicles overturning.

The only truly effective solution is to keep vehicles and pedestrians entirely separate and make sure that they can’t operate in the same space at the same time. This can be done by physically separating them with barriers, or by timetabling vehicle and pedestrian work at different times.

If people do work where there are vehicles, then physical separation by barriers is better than having marked walkways – and well-marked walkways are far better then letting people choose for themselves. In all cases, managers can reduce the risk of collision by putting up signs and warnings in appropriate places and training people to take notice of them. It’s no good having a line to mark a walkway if people don’t know which side of the line means ‘safe’.

This applies to managers and their teams who work in office environments, too. Lots of people get injured in car parks or on approaches to office buildings because they’re often off public roads and think they’re safe – they’re not!

There are particular problems with reversing vehicles, especially if the driver has a restricted view of the back of the vehicle. To reduce the risk of injury:

•  minimise the need for vehicles to reverse – for example, by setting up one-way systems

•  get someone to watch the vehicle reversing

•  make everyone aware of the dangers of reversing vehicles.

Employers need to make sure that vehicle risks in their workplaces are managed effectively.

The following questions are typically considered when completing the risk assessment:

What kinds of vehicles are operating and what are they doing? In particular consider:

–  reversing

–  loading/unloading

–  tipping

–  cleaning

–  maintenance and repair

–  stability

–  other hazards

Are the drivers trained and experienced on the vehicles they operate? For example, do they observe speed limits, one-way systems and pedestrian areas? Do they follow safe practices in loading and unloading areas and when refuelling and recharging their vehicles?

Are pedestrians aware of how they should behave to stay safe in the area? For example, do they keep clear of areas designated for vehicles, use pedestrian routes when available, and treat site traffic with the same respect as traffic?

What safe working practices are in place?