"HSE reveal that "struck by a moving vehicle" has overtaken "falls from a height" as the primary cause of fatal injury in the workplace"
When the safety and wellbeing of your workforce is primary, staying aware and up to date on the risks and dangers that they are exposed to day to day is key to correct decision making. The Health and Safety Executive offer regular updates on the most common kinds of accident reported in the workplace, to help you plan for and protect your employees.
In their most recent report [link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/fatals.htm] on fatal injuries arising from accidents at work in Great Britain, the HSE reveal that "struck by a moving vehicle" has overtaken "falls from a height" as the primary cause of fatal injury in the workplace.
So what can you do to mitigate the risk of your employees being injured in this way? There is a huge amount to think about when it comes to vehicles in the workplace and in light of this new statistic it seems more urgent than ever to ensure that the risks posed by vehicles are well managed.
To develop a comprehensive risk assessment for vehicle use and presence in your work area, information about vehicle activities, training and supervision of drivers and staff operating in vehicle areas, attention to signage, lighting and surfaces in the work environment and diligent repair and maintenance of all vehicles are important areas to begin with.
When assessing and managing the risks associated with vehicles in the workplace, you may wish to consider the following along with the core advice and recommendations from HSE:
- Be informed about and map out all movements of vehicles and people on site, to see where they might meet or overlap.
- Remember external suppliers and service deliveries which involve vehicle visits, however infrequent.
- Find ways to reduce the frequency and likelihood of interaction between vehicles and workers or visitors.
- Consider establishing a one-way system to make traffic flow more manageable and predictable.
- Educate your workforce to avoid reversing wherever possible as this presents a greater danger.
- Ensure you have all the requisite signage in place for vehicle routes, speed limits, pedestrian walkways and junctions.
- Lighting is important for reducing likelihood of accidents, make sure all areas are well lit.
- Pay close attention to the maintenance and repair of all surfaces where vehicles are in use.
- For visitors or clients, consider a separate parking area away from operational vehicle movements.
- Maintain all vehicles to an excellent standard, with close monitoring of brakes, steering, tyres, lights, mirrors and safety alert systems such as reversing sensors or emergency shut off.
- Ensure all drivers are certified, trained - and where necessary supervised - especially visiting drivers or suppliers.
Essential guidance on vehicles in the workplace can be found here on the HSE website [link:http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/index.htm]