The Management Of Vehicle Movements
The movement of vehicles should be properly managed, as should vehicle maintenance and driver training. The development of an agreed code of practice for drivers, to which all drivers should sign up, and the enforcement of site rules covering all vehicular movements are essential for effective vehicle management.
All vehicles should be subject to appropriate preventative maintenance programmes with appropriate records and all vehicle maintenance procedures adequately documented. Many vehicles, such as mobile cranes, require regular inspection by a competent person and test certificates.
Specific vehicle movements, such as reversing, are more hazardous than others, and particular safe systems should be set up. The reversing of lorries, for example, must be kept to a minimum (and then restricted to particular areas). Vehicles should be fitted with reversing warning systems and be able to give a warning of approach. Refuges, where pedestrians can stand to avoid reversing vehicles, are a useful safety measure. Banks who direct-reversing vehicles should also be alert to the possibility of pedestrians crossing in the vehicle’s path. There are many vehicle movements; consideration should be given to the provision of high visibility clothing. Pedestrians must keep to designated walkways and crossing points, observe safety signs and use doors separate from those used by vehicles. Visitors unfamiliar with the site and access points should be escorted through the workplace.
The risk of a fire is increased by vehicular-associated activities such as battery charging, refueling, pallet storage, etc. All batteries should be recharged in a separate, well-ventilated area.
As mentioned earlier, driver training, given by competent people, is essential. Only trained drivers should be allowed to drive vehicles, and the training should be relevant to the particular vehicle (forklift truck, dumper truck, lorry, etc.). All drivers must receive specific training and instruction before they are permitted to drive vehicles. They must also be given refresher training and medical examinations at regular intervals. This involves a management system for ensuring driver competence, including detailed records of all drivers with appropriate training dates and certification in a driving license or authorization.
Where large vehicles are routinely stopping to load or unload at loading bays, a certain amount of reversing is probably inevitable. When large vehicles need to reverse in the workplace, the following precautions should be taken:
- Undertake a risk assessment and develop a written safe system of work.
- Restrict reversing to places where it can be carried out safely.
- Keep people on foot or in wheelchairs away from the area.
- Provide suitable high visibility clothing for those permitted in the area.
- Fit reversing alarms to alert, a detection device to warn the driver of an obstruction, or automatically applying the brakes.
- Employ banksmen to supervise the safe movement of vehicles.
The design features that may need to be considered to minimize risks associated with the movement of vehicles in the workplace include:
- providing traffic routes with smooth and stable surfaces and with the right width and headroom for the types of vehicles that will use them;
- eliminating sharp bends, blind corners, and steep gradients, and siting convex mirrors on those corners that are unavoidably blind;
- installing a one-way system to minimize the need for reversing;
- including passing places for vehicles;
- introducing speed limits and providing speed retarders;
- providing a good standard of lighting for the traffic routes, and particularly at the transition areas between the inside and outside of buildings;
- Segregating vehicles and pedestrians, including separate access and egress, and providing marked crossing places (zebra crossings).
The procedural arrangements that should accompany these design features are:
- selecting and training competent drivers;
- implementing a regular health screening programme for all drivers;
- providing information on site rules for visitors, such as delivery drivers;
- procedures for the regular maintenance of the traffic routes and the in-house vehicles, including a system for the reporting of defects and near-miss accidents;
- Rigorously enforcing speed limits, with the possibility of a points system on drivers’ licenses or permits.
The HSE publications’ Workplace Transport Safety, Guidance for Employers’ HSG136, and ‘Managing Vehicle Safety at the Workplace’ INDG199 (revised) provide helpful checklists of relevant safety requirements for vehicles are used in a workplace.