Safe movement of vehicles in the workplace
Work-transport related accidents are alerting increasing in workplaces that lead to either fatalities or serious injuries to the workers.
Significant damages to the plant, equipment, infrastructure, and other properties also happen due to vehicle accidents so TRANSPORT SAFETY very important.
Workplace transport is a type of vehicle transport used in workplace .it includes the range of vehicles like cars, vans, Lorries, trucks, cranes, and so on.
Road traffic laws cover associated risk for vehicles driven on public roads in more details then general health and safety law so that the vehicles that are driven on public roads are not usually classified as workplace transport.
In some cases, public roads can be considered as temporary workplace when the vehicle is being loaded or unloaded on a public roads adjacent to a workplace.
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Hazards and risk from workplace transport operations:
Hazards may arise from
- Loss of control due to mechanical failure or environmental reasons
- Overturning –laterally or longitudinally
- Collisions with other vehicles
- Collisions with pedestrians and fixed objects
- Driver (human error) error/failure may cause or compound each of these hazards
- Discussed below are the hazards and risks that happen due to vehicle movement at the workplace.
Typical hazards relating to vehicle movement
accident by transport at the workplace can happen due to several reasons. the carelessness of the driver, harsh driving errors, workplace infrastructure that restricts free vehicular movements, lack of warning signals or direction sings while taking a reverse or changing directions, mechanical failures in machines and environmental factors.in addition, risks related to automobile motion include the following:
Driving too fast
Hazards due to driving too fast are typically connected to driver errors. Drivers may drive a
vehicle too fast for the following reasons.
- To finish the work within a limited time
- Work pressure
- Aiming at incentives by doing the work quickly and performing additional works during the time allotted
- To get back home early from work
- The inexperience of the driver.
The impacts of driving too fast are aggravated by movements such as the following
- Taking sharp turn especially around bends on roads
- Steering away to avoid obstacles on the road
- Unequal ground level
- Sloping surfaces around bends
This unusual movement may cause the loads to relocate, overturn the vehicle or skid away from the vehicle‘s path.
Reversing: Reversing accidents results in several hazards such a loss of injuries, damages to vehicle, equipment and premise collision due to reversing vehicle occurs when.
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- Field of vision of the driver to the rear of the vehicle is limit.
- The absence of rear-vision devices.
- Lack of reversing alarm to warn workers in proximity to the reversing vehicle.
- Incompetency of the drivers.
Avoid reversing using the one-way system, drive through system and roundabout.
If reversing cannot be avoided:
- Create longitudinal guides or Latrell white lines on the ground to reverse and position
the vehicles with ease.
- Enhance and transform the existing reversing areas.
- Ensure that there is adequate space for reversing.
- Always ensure reversing is free from obstructions.
- Equip fixed mirrors and other visibility aids to enhance visibility around the vehicle.
- Seek assistance from a trained banksman if required.
- Install aids like CCTV and reversing sensors in the vehicle to effortlessly reverse the vehicle.
Banksman is the common term used for a vehicle reversing assistant. Banksman guides and signals the driver to accurately position and access the vehicles. Banksman is mostly employed during the loading and unloading process.
Following things should be considered while employing banksman
- Banksman should wear suitable high-visibility clothing.
- Should be taught to place themselves in a safe position during vehicle reversing.
- The driver must be the instructed to stop the vehicle immediately if the banksman disappears from view.
Silent operation of machinery
A vehicle that operates silently may also pose a certain hazard to the pedestrians. The
pedestrians may not hear the movement of such vehicles in time to avoid an impact.
Not only automobile engines but also auxiliary machinery and devices such as loaders, cranes, and refrigeration plant etc. may also pose the same threat on pedestrians.
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The situation may worsen if the workers are wearing ear muffs are working in the heavy nose area.
Case in point
A silently operating for-lift truck that brings materials to the workplace where pedestrians and vehicle work together hits workers who crossed its path with delivery parcels in hands.
The driver’s vision may be obstructed mainly by the loads placed on the vehicle.it may be
difficult for the driver to look around the loads at the pedestrians or other obstructions on
the road to avoid impact.
Other occasions that obstruct the driver’s vision and lead to a hazards are given below:
- The height of the drivers above the road may make it difficult or the driver to stop
down and look for obstruction of pedestrians.
- Environmental conditions like fog, mist, dust, snow, rain etc. May present an unclear view ahead.
- Light charging from approaching vehicles directly into the driver’s vision may leave the driver with a momentary blindness.
- The vehicle moving from brightened area to a dimmer one that leads to poor visibility.
- Obstructions or objects stacked on the roadside, obstruct the view of the pedestrians to see the approaching vehicle.
Case in point
A loaded vehicle started from a factory to deliver the load to another location at night. As the vehicle plunged into the rainy night from brightly illuminated indoors, the driver was left
with a momentary blindness.
He didn’t have enough time to notice a careless pedestrian
who chanced to cross the road right then. The unfortunate pedestrian lost his life to the truck.
Various circumstances may cause a vehicle to overturn. Some of the reasons are listed below,
- Uneven loading or overloading of the vehicle
- Unstable loads that move while the vehicle is in motion
- Turning the corners with excessive speed
- Obstetricians on the road
- Driving on the sloppy region or close to edges and embankments
- Inappropriate tire pressure
- Applying breaks all of a sudden
- Irregular roads with bumps and holes
Collisions with other vehicles, pedestrian, and fixed objects
This is an unexpected category where anyone carelessly appearing out of a turn, be it
another vehicle and people could encounter a fast-moving vehicle.
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Moving vehicle may also collide with fixed objects on the road due to environmental conditions. The other factors that result in collisions are as follows,
- Using same entrance /exit for vehicle and workers
- Lack of warning signs on the truck of the vehicle
- Inadequate lighting
- Poor identification of fixed objects
- Lack of safe crossing points on roads
- Poor maintenance of vehicles
- Excessive speed of vehicles
- Driver’s unfamiliarity with the site
- Traffic and congestion
Loading and unloading in a vehicle may cause falling object hazards particularly when the
vehicles are overloaded or used to load materials at a height.
Chances are high that the loaded materials may dislocate during travel and become unstable while unloading, risking the lives of workers who are transferring the material from the vehicle to the workplace.
The following hazards may also happen while loading and unloading a vehicle,
- Working at the top of the vehicle to load and unload goods may cause a falling hazard
as workers may lose awareness of the edges and fall over.
- Poor environmental conditions like strong winds may increase the risk of falling while working at heights.
- Unloading vehicles on sloppy regions cause the risk of slips and rollover hazards.
- Heavy loads may collapse and fall over the workers causing severe injuries.
Loading and Unloading Areas
Loading and unloading areas should satisfy the following requirements in order to prevent hazards
- Carry out loading and unloading activities only at the designated places.
- Ensure that the area which is meant for loading and unloading activities is free from traffic, pedestrians, potholes, and debris.
- Make sure that the overhead power cable is at the appropriate distance from the ground and ensure that there is no chance of contacting with live overhead electric lines while undertaking loading and unloading activities.
- Provision of sanitary, resting and refreshment facilities to comfort the drivers and load man.
Loading bay so an area of the building which is specifically meant to transferring of good either from vehicles or to vehicles.
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It should have at least one exit point from the lower level. And also it should integrate bolthole or refuse to avoid being struck or crushed by a vehicle.
The vehicle should be prevented from moving during the process of loading and unloading so as to reduce
1. ‘DRIVEWAY’ incident- this happens when the vehicle moves away from the loading
bay unexpectedly during the loading or unloading process. This result in serious
2. ‘CREEP’ incident- this occurs due to the creation of gaps between the loading bay and
the vehicle. This also leads to dangerous situations.
Following are the way to prevent vehicles from moving during loading and unloading at loading bays.
- Use of wheel chocks (I.e. wedges) to avoid accidental movement of vehicles.
- Equip four-wheel braking systems.
- Install alarm systems to alert the driver of applying the handbrake.
- Integrate security systems into the vehicle to avoid unauthorized access.
- Instruct and train the driver about the safe work practices and safe system of work.
- Loading vehicle safely
Following things may be considered for distribution of loads safely on the vehicle:
- Clear instructions and training help to distribute the loads safely on the vehicle.
- As uneven load makes the vehicle unstable, spread the loads as evenly as possible.
- Ensure that the loads are arranged in the way they do not slide around.
- Make sure that the loads are placed as close as possible to the bulkhead or headboard.
- Avoid loading to the back of the trailer to avoid vehicle from rolling backward.
- Make sure that the vehicle is not overloaded.
- Load in the way that will allow for efficient unloading
Securing loads using ropes, webbing or chains on a vehicle may present the following hazards:
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- Falling from height- while securing loads the workers had to work on top of the
vehicles which may present a risk of falling.
- Slipping hazards- the vehicle may be contaminated by dirt, oil or other particles split from previous loads, which may present slip hazards.
- Weather conditions- poor environmental factor may present a risk of slipping and falling while securing loads on heights.
- Manual handling hazards- it takes considerable effort to secure the loads to vehicles which may lead to a risk of strains and body pains.
- Falling object hazard- during the securing process unstable loads may move or roll over and fall from the height workers.
The process of protecting the loads on vehicle top with a sheet or net presents the hazards similar to that of the securing process.
Manually rolling the sheet over the loads present manual handling hazards and working on top of vehicles presents slipping and falling hazards.
Vehicles when connected to trailers or other towed devices can present hazards like hitting, crushing and running over while on the move.
When the jaws involved in coupling are not locked properly the trailer may lead to vehicle runaway or trailer rollaway situations which may cause serious injuries to the drivers or other people around.
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Another notable hazard is that sometimes the trailer may overturn due to gradients on the ground.
Vehicle maintenance work
Numerous hazards are associated with vehicle maintenance work. All vehicles are subject to wear and tear and unless maintained at regular intervals, this wear and tear will eventually result in unsafe vehicles and vehicle breakdowns.
Regular planned maintenance is a critical step in preventing this. Effective vehicle maintenance practices result in a vehicle that is safe and fit for purpose and not likely to cause injury to people using it or affected by its use.
Effective maintenance routines also make sure that vehicles are in roadworthy condition on a year-round basis and not just prepared once a year for their annual roadworthiness test.
Control measure for safe workplace transport operations
Appropriate safety measures should be taken by the management to reduce the risk and
improve the safe movement of the vehicles.
The risk presence by the vehicle movement must be identified and analyzed taking account of persons at risk, the adequacy of existing controls, and the need for further control measures.
The review of past accident and incident may identify potential hazards, e.g. unsafe condition in certain areas of the site, vehicle type, training issues, etc.
The following factors should be addressed to ensure the safety of the site.
Suitability of traffic routes
The roads and footways must be suitable for all the vehicular types used within the work
site. This means that the workplace must be suitable even for the large vehicle to turn
around corners and there must be enough space for vehicle reversing.
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Such careful design and construction of workplace can reduce the risk considerably. Some general principles of the safe site are listed below:
- Enough space must be there to accommodate the traffic entering and leaving the
- Separate entrance and exit for vehicles and pedestrians.
- Pedestrians must strictly be warned not to access the vehicular path.
- Zebra crossing must be located for pedestrians crossing.
- The suitable barrier must be installed to indicate danger spots.
- Warning systems or alarms should be placed at the entrance, exit, and crossing to warn the pedestrians about vehicle entering the site.
- Sufficient lighting should be provided on the traffic routes for clear visibility
- Consideration should be given to vehicle weight and height restriction on routes- signs, barriers and weight checks may be necessary.
- Traffic routes should be clear of obstruction, damages, pit etc.
- Traffic routes must clearly be marked and signed, including directional information, one way systems, speed limits and other factors necessary for road safety.
- Marking of storage area and clear direction sign can avoid unnecessary impacts, especially while reversing
- Traffic management system should be in place to control the movement of vehicles.
- The vehicle path should not lie close to:- dangerous items such as chemicals and explosives, unprotected edges from which a vehicle may fall, unprotected feature such as scaffolds which may collapse and present a threat if accidentally hit by the vehicle.
- As traffic also includes the pedestrians, consideration should be given to the people working at the site, the job being carried out and the equipment they might use.
- Large vehicle and vehicles with drawbar trailers may need a wider area to take a turn so the site should be designed to provide sufficient area to turn safely.
Management of vehicle movements
Delivery management- to prevent too many vehicles arriving for deliveries at the same
time Visiting driver management- visiting drivers may be made aware of the side rules, welfare
facilities and workplace layout so that they may act by the principles of the worksite and
may know the routes to the place they need to go.
Organized vehicle managements- loading and Unloading process can take place after the
pedestrians enter/exit the work site at the start and finish of work.
Restricting vehicle reversing wherever possible- a one-way system can be adopted.
Turning management- allot large area a turning point to allow larger vehicles to turn and drive forward without reversing.
Authorized reversing assistant/ signaler can be employed to assist with vehicle reversing
when safe reversing is not effective.
Rules and procedure related to vehicles movement:
- Speed limit signs
- Traffic slowing measures- speed bumps and rumps
- Signs indicating the direction of travel
- Area of loading and unloading must clearly be marked
Clear marked location for parking vehicles.
Systems for inspection and maintenance of vehicles must be carried out on a regular basis.
Preventing vehicles from overturning
Most of the workplace transport accidents are caused by vehicles overturning.
- Avoid overloading the vehicles.
- Plan out suitable routes to avoid driving on step slopes uneven or slippery surfaces, curbs, and sharp turns.
- Ensure that the vehicles only are driven on the surface they are designed for
- The speed of the vehicle should be based upon the task, load, and ground conditions.
- Ensure even distribution of loads across the whole vehicle.
- Carry out periodic inspection and regular maintenance of the vehicles.
- Make sure that the persons operating the vehicle is competent and skilled.
- Good lighting facilities either natural or artificial.
- Maintaining a suitable standard of lighting to enable safe work activities.
- Avoid area of glare or shadow to see a person or vehicle clearly.
- Maintain the light level within and outside the work area, as for as possible.
Gradients such as ramps may pose specific hazards to the plant and vehicles operation.
According to the loading and the wheelbase the vehicles have their own limit of stability. So when vehicles encounter a rump chance of overturning are high. This condition could be reduced by,
- Avoid step gradients
- Gradients should be as gentle as possible
- Rump and gradients should be clearly marked.
Changes in level also present a risk overturning. There is also a risk of falling at edges there for proper barrier should be provided at edges.
Loads may become unstable when the level changes from normal to a sloppy one. So care must be taken in loading and Unloading of vehicles.
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The surface condition of the roads may be contaminated by chemicals or oil used in industries
Sometimes the surface may be slippery and vehicles may not break effectively in such surfaces. For the vehicles to pass without difficulty,
- Proper drainage system must be provided for the contaminant to escape through it
- Regular cleaning of the surface.
- Floor condition should be kept clean of spills, litter, snow, and ice.
Segregating of pedestrians and vehicles
Vehicle delivery routes must always be segregated from those accessed by the pedestrians.
- Wherever possible physically segregated the pathways of vehicles from pedestrians.
- Meshed handrails, doors, barriers, and fencing could be used to separate the vehicle pathways from the pedestrians pathway.
- Constructing raised pedestrian walkway for pedestrians safety where physical segregation is not possible.
- Clearly mentioned entrance and exit routes for the general movement of vehicles and parking areas.
- Providing safe crossing places for pedestrians to cross main traffic routes.
- The crossing places must be properly marked.
- Monitoring speed limit of vehicles wherever pedestrians activities are high.
- Building bridges and subways for pedestrians to use which is more secure than other ways.
Vehicle free zone- where only pedestrians move
Pedestrians free zones- where only vehicles movement allowed.
Preventive measures should be taken when segregation is not practicable
Some industries may have situations where a separated path for the vehicles and the pedestrians cannot be laid. In such cases, the below-mentioned practices must be taken.
- Marking the work areas and indicating the main routes followed by vehicles such as
- The worker can be made to wear high visibility clothing.
- Audible warning signals on vehicles while taking a reverse.
- Loud horn systems to be used at turns.
- Cameras and warning systems to indicate the presence of pedestrians on the path.
Worksites with heavy moving vehicles must consider constructing barriers to separate
people from impact with those vehicles. Vulnerable areas may require concrete structures
to separate people from direct collision with heavy vehicles.
Signs are very much helpful to educate and alert the drivers and pedestrians about the
workplace hazards. It should be
Marking sign and warnings on vehicle
This informs the people and the drivers about the operation, rules and the hazard related to traffic and their routes.
The pedestrians and driver also have to follow site rules properly. Drivers must make sure
there is no presence of pedestrians before making a turn or a reverse. They must learn to
use audible alarms whenever necessary.
The speed limit is determined based on the type of vehicle. The speed limit varies for different types of vehicles. The maximum speed limit of the vehicle is normally set by the local government.
Speed limit plays the crucial role in workplace transport. Speed limit have to practice; otherwise, drivers have the intention to break the speed limit in order to finish the tasks quickly.
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It is usually ineffective to set the same speed limit throughout the whole site. Speed limits
need to be appropriate for:
- Road surface
- Type of load
- The layout of the route
- Hazards on the way
- Work that is carried on or clear the route
Parking area should
- Be clearly signposted and well lit
- Be firm, level and well drained
- Be free from obstruction
- Ensure clear visibility from all concerns
- Ensure pedestrians and vehicles are kept apart
Remember the following key things for safe parking:
- Break On
- Engine Off
- Key Out
- Equipment Safe
Parking on a slope
There are some safety precautions to be considered for parking a vehicle on a slope.
- Use wheel chocks
- Apply hand breaks
- Leave vehicle in gear ( if it is safe to do so )
- Ensure that the parked vehicle facing up or down the slope, not sideways on.
Overhead power lines
Direct contact or indirect contact with overhead power lines lead to serious injuries and in
some cases even to death.
To prevent vehicles from coming into contact with overhead lines, it is always better to avoid working near the overhead line.
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If there is no alternative, work can be carried out in close proximity to live overhead lines with appropriate control measures.
Following control measures should be adopted if a vehicle makes contact with overhead power lines
- Always wear pipes
- Leave the vehicle by jumping as soon as possible
- Never the touch the metallic part of the vehicle body
- Make sure no one else comes into contact with the vehicle
- Immediately contact the local electricity supplier to shut off the power
Members of the public
Members of the public are unaware of workplace hazards. To safeguard the members of the public, following things to be considered
- Provision of separate with appropriate path or route to segregate visitors from
vehicle traffic and work activities.
- Direct the visitors with appropriate signs and symbols.
- Ensure that the place they want to go place as close as the possible e.g. shop, toilets, refreshments areas.
Following are the factors that need to be addressed to make sure that a vehicle is risk-free.
- Suitable vehicle
- Maintenance/ repair of vehicles
- Visibility from vehicles/ reversing aids
- Driver protection and restraint systems