"You don't have to fall far to land hard" is a quote from this page on the HSE website in relation to people falling from vehicles, most commonly occurring during loading and unloading.
Over 3 million people in Great Britain work on or near vehicles as part of their regular job, so it's no surprise that accidents happen in this area, but is this something that managers are overlooking due to the view that it is incidental to the main job?
The risks may not be properly considered by both managers and workers, however, a surprising figure shows that the economic and human cost of falls from vehicles that were reported was over £36 million in 2004/05 (the most recent statistic).
Taking this in to account, here are 10 steps that you, as a manager, can take to help prevent falls from vehicles at your site or depot:
- Agree safe ways of loading and unloading to minimise the amount of time workers have to spend on the vehicle loading area.
- Carry out regular checks on the condition of equipment such as steps and catwalks. Falls occur when the steps or catwalk have failed.
- Provide drivers with a system for reporting faults related to access equipment on their vehicles and check they use the system. Make sure faults are repaired quickly.
- Provide adequate lighting in depots and on the vehicles where work is carried out. Poor lighting will hide trip and slip hazards.
- Keep vehicle beds and catwalks tidy to help prevent trips and slips.
- Provide safe vehicle washing facilities and make sure they are used. Diesel, grease or mud increases the likelihood of slipping on the catwalk, steps or load area.
- Provide steps, gantries and platforms where work at height is unavoidable for loading and unloading or maintenance and cleaning.
- Provide suitable slip-resistant footwear for drivers.
- Give drivers a ‘toolbox talk’ on how to avoid falls and provide refresher sessions at regular intervals.
- Check to ensure that fall precautions are actually taken.
Are you looking for accurate Health and Safety advice? Call the QSC Safety team on 01332 294800