Employers are being reminded of their legal responsibilities for managing vehicle risks in the workplace in a new safety campaign. Inspectors from the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) will begin a two-week inspection and awareness safety blitz on Monday (February 24). The nationwide campaign will focus on the management of vehicle risks in the workplace such as driving for work, vehicle operations and load securing. It comes after 16 people in Ireland were killed in incidents involving transport in the workplace in 2019.
Trucks and dumpers are the most hazardous vehicle types in the commercial workplace – accounting for five deaths last year – and are frequently found in warehouses, workshops and factories. The main causes of injury are people falling off vehicles, or being struck or crushed by them during the manoeuvring, reversing or coupling and uncoupling of vehicles.
Deirdre Sinnott, senior inspector with the HSA, said planning is the first step to ensure work is done safely. “In the next fortnight, inspectors plan to carry out around 200 inspections on transport and logistics companies, manufacturing premises, waste and recycling facilities, distribution centres and warehousing centres.
“They will be looking at vehicles such as forklifts, rigid lorries, articulated trucks, vans, waste vehicles and skips, as well as visiting vehicles at workplaces. Making workplaces safer can be as simple as just be a lick of paint – lines and signs can make a huge difference.
“This campaign will focus on the management of vehicle risks in the workplace, particularly traffic movements such as parking, reversing and slow speed manoeuvres and typical vehicle operations such as deliveries and collections, the use of vehicle tail lifts, forklifts and lorry loader cranes, loading, unloading and load securing and driving for work,” she said.
Over the next fortnight, HSA inspectors will focus on the following:
· pedestrian management near moving vehicles;
· loading, unloading and load securing;
· goods inwards, outwards and storage operations;
· use of, forklifts, motorised and self-propelled handling equipment; and
· storage rack installation, condition, maintenance and inspection routines.
Ms Sinnott said every business should put in place a vehicle risk management policy detailing how the risks associated with plant and vehicle traffic are being managed in a workplace.
“Effectively managing risks associated with traffic moving in and around a workplace should start with identifying the hazards, and assessing the risks so effective controls can be implemented.
“Businesses should look at vehicles operated by employees but also vehicles visiting their premises, like routine deliveries and collections, and a physical barrier between people and vehicles is vital. Once these written procedures are in place they should be communicated to all employees, contractors and visiting drivers in the workplace.”
Denise Maguire Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine