The control strategies for managing the risk inherent in vehicle operations are based on the usual basic health and safety management principles:
- Eliminate the hazard.
- Create a safe place.
- Create a safe person.
The starting point is a risk assessment.
A risk assessment covering the vehicle operations in a workplace would:
- Identify the various hazards, by establishing the vehicle operations taking place in or from the workplace and the types of foreseeable accident that might occur.
- Identify the groups at risk (pedestrians, the driver, other drivers, etc.) and those who might be especially vulnerable (young children, the elderly, people with certain disabilities such as the visually impaired, etc.).
- Evaluate the risk by considering the existing controls, the adequacy of those controls and any further controls required to reduce the risks to an acceptable level.
- Be recorded and implemented.
- Be subject to review as the workplace changes, in response to incidents, and perhaps periodically.
The measures necessary to control the risks created by vehicle operations can be grouped into three main categories:
- The safe site (the workplace environment).
- Safe vehicles.
- Safe drivers.
Safe Site (Workplace Environment)
Careful design and construction of the workplace can eliminate or reduce the risks created by vehicle operations. The following factors should be considered:
- Vehicle-free zones – it may be possible to eliminate the hazard by creating pedestrian-only areas.
- Pedestrian-free zones – since pedestrians are usually the group at greatest risk during vehicle maneuverings operations it may be possible to eliminate them from certain parts of the workplace.
- Vehicle traffic route layout – good design of roads and routes can be used to keep vehicles at a distance from pedestrian walkways and other vehicles. One-way systems are an effective method of reducing the risk of collisions between vehicles. Reversing should be eliminated where possible through the introduction of one-way systems and turning circles, where appropriate.
- Segregation of vehicles and pedestrians – wherever possible, pedestrians should be provided with a separate walkway. It may be necessary to place barriers on this route to provide additional physical protection. In some situations (such as in loading bays), safe havens should be provided to which pedestrians can retreat during vehicle movements.
Where barriers cannot be used, segregation might be achieved by marking pedestrian walkways on the floor.
Crossing points may be implemented to allow pedestrians to cross traffic routes safely.
- Separate site and building entrances should be provided for vehicles and pedestrians so that they are not forced into close proximity at these busy areas.
- Appropriate signage should be used to alert vehicle drivers to hazards on their route (such as lower overheads).
- While barriers can protect pedestrians from vehicles, they can also be used to protect structures that might be at risk of damage or collapse in the event of a collision, e.g. in a warehouse, racking may be protected with barriers at vulnerable locations.
Environmental considerations should also be taken into account:
–– Good standards of lighting should be present on traffic routes.
–– Good visibility is essential so that drivers have unobstructed views from their vehicles. Blind spots should be eliminated by careful traffic route design; where this is not possible, aids such as mirrors, CCTV and transparent doors should be provided.
–– The surface of the traffic route must be suitable for the vehicles using it, with attention paid to its strength, stability, grip characteristics and drainage.
–– Gradients and changes of level should be avoided, but if this is not possible they must not exceed the capabilities of the vehicle using the traffic route.
The above controls must also be reinforced by the implementation of site rules for drivers and pedestrians and driver training. These rules must be strictly enforced and adhered to. Visiting drivers (such as delivery drivers) should be provided with information about the site rules.
These rules include speed limits, which should be set for traffic routes and then clearly indicated by signage, and enforced. Traffic-calming measures – such as speed bumps – might be used where experience shows there is a problem with vehicles speeding.