Over the last five years, 60 employees were killed and 5000 seriously injured in haulage and distribution – simply whilst doing their job. Another 23000 suffered injuries severe enough to keep them off work for more than three days. This represents a higher rate of accidents to employees than either construction or agriculture, both widely regarded as hazardous industries.
Drivers perform an essential role in the mineral processing industry; they deliver over 200 million tonnes of materials and products annually and work on industry and customer sites during loading and unloading. Driver safety and competence on the roads is absolutely critical.
Understanding the sorts of things that result in injury and ill health can help you recognise the activities most likely to lead to harm and enable you to put controls in place.
The following controls should be in place as a minimum:
- Driver training is essential along with clear instructions for drivers. Providing drivers with simple delivery safety checklists may help them. Drivers must have the relevant qualification to drive the vehicle and be instructed to report any hazard / road traffic issues that occur on public roads. Licence checks should be carried out at least annually.
- A safe system of work should be in place on site so that all drivers are clear about the routes around site and the controls in place to minimise manual handling and work at height.
- Vehicles should not be over loaded; they should be loaded evenly and inspected before they leave to ensure materials are not overhanging. All vehicles should be sheeted to prevent materials falling and drivers should be instructed to drive at the speed limit.
- Vehicles and pedestrians should be separated as much as possible or a safe system of work adopted with the use of a trained and competent banksman.
- All personnel should wear hi-visibility clothing to enable them to be seen and other PPE as required by the safe system of work and risk assessment.
- Roads should be inspected daily to ensure they are not contaminated with mud / stones / dirty water. All drivers and site operatives must be instructed to report any slippery road conditions.
- Vehicles must be well maintained and must be fit to travel on public roads.
Poor control may result in action from HSE or local authorities. Transport risks, falls from height and manual handling are all priority areas for enforcing authorities, and all are common causes of accidents in road haulage. Unlimited fines and imprisonment are possible consequences of any breach of health and safety legislation. Directors and managers can face prosecution as individuals if their acts or omissions led to the offence.
If you would like any further advice or help with your health and safety management, please contact our team on 01302 341 344 today.