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Workplace transport safety

Seminar: 18th Jan, 2022

Join us for an insightful seminar on embracing the new world of work in 2022

Our expert FD People team will provide their insight and practical solutions to approaching new ways of working.

Trucks

Workplace transport accidents were the second largest contributor to workplace fatalities in 2021-22: 23 deaths, 19% of all fatalities. Construction and agriculture remain the highest risk industries, but transport accidents can occur anywhere where vehicles are used, especially in close proximity to pedestrians. Careful examination and planning of the workplace and traffic routes will result in a lower risk of such accidents.

Risk Assessment

Under the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations, employers and any person who has control of the workplace to any extent, must carry out a written risk assessment with respect to the movement of vehicles and pedestrians, and put in place adequate control measures to eliminate or reduce any risks found. Controls may be a combination of physical measures such as road signage or markings and procedures, such as traffic plans and site rules. All traffic entering the workplace must be directed and controlled as far as reasonably practicable and a well-managed workplace will not only improve safety but also improve workflow and productivity.

When assessing the workplace and planning traffic routes, consider the work activities, the traffic type, the volume and the circulation of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Include commercial vehicles such as delivery vans and large goods vehicles that visit the workplace and consider access for emergency vehicles. Include internal vehicles such as forklift trucks, and visitor and staff vehicles which may include cars, motorbikes and bicycles. Remember to include pedestrian traffic such as site employees, other people’s employees, visitors and contractors. If the workplace is a shared site or you do not own the site, you may have to work with other employers or the landlord to ensure that workplace transport is adequately managed on-site.

Outlined below are some of the features that you need to consider in your workplace transport risk assessment.  

Vehicular Traffic Routes

  • Review access and entry into the site: major road crossings, height clearance/ restrictions, and entrance barriers can be operated from a safe location. If gates or barriers are to stay open should be adequately secured.
  • Drivers should have adequate visibility to see hazards. Check that walls, fencing and landscaping do not affect visibility, especially at junctions. Take account of left-hand drive vehicles that may visit your workplace, which have different lines of visibility.
  • Eliminate the need for reversing into traffic by using one-way systems, drive-through loading/ unloading areas, turning points, reverse parking or, if space is limited, turntables.
  • Routes should be firm, have adequate drainage, a suitable driving surface, clearly defined edges and be wide enough for the movement of the largest vehicle and its load.
  • Avoid traffic routes passing close to hazardous areas, such as chemical storage tanks, doorways used by pedestrians, sharp or blind bends and steep slopes. If blind spots or sharp bends cannot be avoided, provide mirrors to improve vision.
  • Keep routes free of obstructions, but where unavoidable ensure that they are clearly marked. Provide impact protection for vulnerable areas such as lamp posts and columns.

Pedestrians

  • Segregate pedestrians from vehicles wherever possible by providing separate footpaths or walkways protected by rails or barriers. Walkways should be wide enough for the number of people expected to use them. Where this is not feasible, ensure that the route is wide enough for both vehicles and pedestrians to use it safely.
  • Provide warning signage, especially where there may be children or animals present.
  • Provide separate vehicle and pedestrian entrances into buildings, where possible, with vision panels on all doors.
  • Consider prohibiting or limiting vehicular traffic at busy periods, e.g. lunchtime and the start/ end of the working day.
  • Pedestrian workers should wear high-visibility jackets or vests in areas where vehicles are operating.
  • Provide safe areas for drivers to wait whilst vehicles are being loaded/ unloaded.

Signage and Road Markings

  • Mark all internal and external vehicle and pedestrian routes.
  • Mark and signpost information such as any restricted/no parking areas, pedestrian crossings, traffic lanes, directions, junctions, stop lines, changes in gradient, limited overhead space areas, speed limits and sharp bends.
  • All signage must be clearly understood, using pictograms where possible. Use reflective or illuminated signage where work is carried out outside of daylight hours.
  • Place signage in appropriate locations so people have time to see and understand it and take appropriate action. Place appropriate signage or site maps at the entrance to indicate traffic routes, speed limits and parking. Signage and markings should not be obstructed by objects or shrubbery.

Lighting

  • Provide appropriate lighting on all traffic routes and yard areas. Ensure that the lighting is positioned correctly. Remember that in loading bays, large goods vehicles may restrict the lighting if it is centrally positioned.
  • Ensure that lighting does not cause glare to vehicle drivers. Check that drivers are not subjected to extreme light variations, especially if driving from a dark warehouse out into a bright yard.

Traffic Control/Speed

  • Put appropriate speed limits in place for the site. The limit should take account of the route layout, the vehicles using the route and the loads being carried. Different areas of a site may require different speed limits. Monitor and enforce the speed limit once in place. For example, using CCTV.
  • Consider limiting vehicle speed using traffic calming measures, such as rumble strips, speed humps, or narrowing roads using bollards. Traffic calming measures must be clearly visible, if appropriate, well-lit and/or reflective and appropriate for the type of traffic. Traffic lights, speed sensors, flashing warning signs and electronic speed zoning can assist in controlling traffic flow and speed.

Parking

  • Adequate numbers of safe, well-lit and suitably designed parking spaces should be provided for all parking needs and vehicles using the workplace. On-site parking should enable separation between work and private vehicles.
  • Parking should be easy to find, clearly marked and ideally as close as possible to where people need to go when they leave their vehicles. They should not obstruct key access routes or fire hydrants.
  • Encourage reverse parking, as this reduces the number of vehicles reversing out into a flow of traffic and improves visibility for departing vehicles.

Housekeeping and Maintenance

  • Lighting, mirrors, signage, route markings and electronic gates/ barriers should be regularly maintained. Maintenance work should be carried out either when vehicles are not in operation or during quieter periods.
  • All surfaces should have a good grip. Keep pedestrian footpaths clear of obstructions and conditions that may cause slips, trips or falls such as mud or ice. Use emergency spill kits and documented procedures in the event of spillages.

Safe Systems of Work

  • Following the site assessment, prepare a traffic management plan, if appropriate. The plan will form part of the overall traffic management system. As part of the plan, include a site map which identifies the traffic routes for vehicles and pedestrians. The level of detail of the plan will depend on the complexity and size of the site and the volume of vehicular and pedestrian traffic operating in the workplace.
  • Ensure visiting drivers know the site rules and traffic management plan, who and where to report to, the layout of the workplace and the route to be taken. Where reasonably practicable, send this information to the driver in advance of their arrival at the workplace.
  • Review the site layout periodically to take account of changes in work activities, traffic volume, type and circulation.

Further Support

FD People have prepared a Workplace Transport Checklist, a free download, to get you started with your workplace transport risk assessment. For further assistance and advice, please contact enquiries@fdpeople.co.uk or call 0141 221 2984. Or alternatively, fill in our online contact form here and we will be happy to help.

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