Vehicles And Traffic Routes
All vehicles used on site should be regularly maintained and records kept. Only trained drivers should be allowed to drive vehicles, and the training should be relevant to the particular vehicle (forklift truck, dumper truck, etc.). Vehicles should be fitted with reversing warning systems. HSE investigations have shown that in over 30% of dumper truck accidents, the drivers had little experience and no training.
Common forms of accident include:
- Driving into excavations.
- Overturning while driving up steep inclines.
- Runaway vehicles that have been left unattended with the engine running.
The small dumper truck is widely used on all sizes of the construction site. Compact dumper trucks are involved in about 30% of construction transport accidents.
The three leading causes of such accidents are:
- Overturning on slopes and at the edges of excavations;
- Poorly maintained braking systems;
- Driver error due to lack of training and/or inexperience.
Some of the hazards associated with these vehicles are collisions with pedestrians and other vehicles or scaffolding structures. They can be struck by falling materials and tools or be overloaded. The person driving the truck can be thrown from the vehicle, come into contact with moving parts on the truck, suffer the effects of whole-body vibrations due to driving over potholes in the roadway and suffer from noise and dust. The precautions that can be taken to address these hazards include the use of authorized, trained, competent, and supervised drivers only. As with so many other construction operations, risks should be assessed, safe work systems followed, and drivers forbidden from taking shortcuts.
The following site controls should also be in place:
- Designated traffic routes and signs;
- Speed limits;
- Stop blocks used when the vehicle is stationary;
- Proper inspection and maintenance procedures;
- Procedures for starting, loading, and unloading the vehicle;
- Provision of rollover protective structures (ROPS) and seat restraints;
- Provision of falling-object protective structures (FOPS) when there is a risk of being hit by falling materials;
- Visual and audible warning of approach;
- Where necessary, hearing protection.
For other forms of mobile construction equipment, such as forklift trucks, the risk to people from overturning the equipment must always be safeguarded. This can usually be achieved by avoiding working on steep slopes, providing stabilizers, and ensuring that the load carried does not affect the stability of the equipment/vehicle.
Traffic routes and loading and storage areas need to be well designed with enforced speed limits, good visibility, and the separation of vehicles and pedestrians. The use of one-way systems and separate site access gates for vehicles and pedestrians may be required. Finally, the safety of members of the public must be considered, particularly where vehicles cross public footpaths.
Fire and Other Emergencies
Emergency procedures relevant to the site should be in place to prevent or reduce injury arising from fire, explosions, flooding, or structural collapse. These procedures should include the location of fire points and assembly points, extinguisher provision, site evacuation, contact with the emergency services, accident reporting and investigation, and rescue from excavations and confined spaces. There also needs to be training in these procedures at the induction of new workers and ongoing for all workers.