Workplace Transport Safety - How Safe is the Motor Trade?
Allianz advises on how to manage transport safety in the workplace in light of high accident rate statistics in the motor trade:
“A robust approach to workplace transport safety in the motor trade sector is essential. This will safeguard employees, customers and members of the public as well as protect a business from prosecutionand reputational damage”.
Michael D’Aguilar, Motor Trade Focal Point, Allianz Commercial
The potential risk that vehicle movements present can be seen in figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). These show there are more than 5,000 incidents involving workplace transport each year, with around 1% of these resulting in a fatality. Unfortunately the motor trade sector fares worse than many with an accident rate of 1.8 workplace transport related fatalities compared to an average of 0.6 per year.
The first step to managing risk is to ensure that workplace transport safety forms an integral part of the business culture and is included in the formal Health and Safety Policy. Employees should be made aware of the issue, with appropriate information, instruction and training provided, and managers nominated and empowered to take responsibility for developing and monitoring controls.
It is also important to ensure you have processes in place to record any incident or near miss involving vehicles.
These should then be investigated and controls put in place to reduce risk. Understanding historical incident patterns can provide a valuable insight when seeking to mitigate risk in a business.
A workplace transport risk assessment is essential. It is a legal requirement under Regulation 3 of the
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, for every employer to make an assessment of the health and safety risks arising out of their work. The purpose of the assessment is to identify what needs to be done to control such risks. The risk assessment will therefore need to cover all work activities that involve the movement of vehicles, such as arrival and departure, movement within the workplace, loading and unloading and vehicle maintenance work. It also needs to take into account the type of hazards that might be present, who may be at risk and what controls are already in place.
An employee was helping to jump start a vehicle using a set of leads from one vehicle to another. As the vehicle was started it lurched forward knocking down a fellow employee who sustained a number of fractures to both legs.
Preventative Measures and Risk Assessment
Assess the area around the vehicle specifically ensuring that no one is in front of or to the rear of the vehicle. Engines should be started ONLY by someone sitting in the driver’s seat, with the handbrake ON and vehicle in neutral. This should be checked prior to starting the engine.
Risk Management System
Having completed the risk assessments a specific workplace transport risk management system can be designed. This should focus on, but is not limited to, following the four key areas of safety: site, vehicles, people and use.
A well-designed and maintained site makes transport accidents less likely. Routes should be as wide as possible, avoiding potential hazards such as overhead electric cables, pipes and sharp bends. One-way systems can ensure that reversing is kept to a minimum. Barriers can be used to keep pedestrians and vehicles separate where possible. Signage should be clear and visible. As highlighted in the incident examples signs stating vehicles should not be left in gear should be included.Speed limits should be enforced and adequate lighting installed. Consideration should be given to the use of cones/temporary barriers to ensure people are warned and kept out of a particular area whilst work is being undertaken.