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Lorries in The Workplace & Load Security

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 2 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Lorry Safety In Workplace Load Security

Although most of us will usually associate accidents with lorries with what happens out on the open road, many incidents with damaging consequences often occur within the confines of the workplace itself which is why health and safety is of paramount importance if you operate a workplace which sees the comings and goings of lorries and other vehicles on a regular basis.

The Law

There can be wide ranging legislation in place with regards to lorries in the workplace and health and safety depending on the type of operations your company carries out. Many aspects are covered under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 which requires a company to ensure the safe use, handling and storage of all vehicles and their loads but if that also means dangerous substances, then companies will also need to adhere to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations as well other legislative measures which might be in place. If you’re operating a construction site, for example, it must be designed in such a way to allow the safe movement of both vehicles and pedestrians under the Construction (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1996.

Risk Assessment

Before putting health and safety procedures into place, it’s firstly necessary to carry out a full risk assessment of the site. A company must look at how their lorries are used and to look at the ways in which they might come into contact with pedestrians, for example. This might mean that action needs to be taken to deal with potential risks such as introducing speed bumps, strictly enforced speed limits, inside the compound, one way systems with separate entry and exit points, putting up clear warning signage and it might also incorporate further driving training.

Other Concerns

Other areas of concern will include things like adequate warning or alarm systems where there may be potential to be crushed or trapped by lorries or other vehicles such as forklift trucks. High visibility clothing is also required for all those who work in, on or around vehicles, even if you’re not necessarily driving the vehicle yourself. Loading and towing operations will also need to be considered as well as ensuring that vehicles cannot move or be moved unintentionally and, obviously, there is also legislation in place with regard to the road worthiness and regular maintenance of lorries, driver training and the hours of driving which are permitted in any one period.

Load Security

It’s important to make sure that a load is secure on board a lorry and that it doesn’t pose any health and safety risks to either the driver, other workers or members of the public. The Department of Transport have issued a Code of Practice in this regard which looks at this issue in greater depth but it includes things like assessing how a load might move inside the vehicle during transit and how to prevent that occurring, how strapping and chains should be used to secure a load and how to ensure that drivers have safe areas in which to load and unload within a depot. Drivers should also be encouraged to keep a record of their loads and to report any incidents that might have compromised safety - near misses with other vehicles and pedestrians, for example.

The operations of lorries in the workplace are always going to be subject to changes in working practices. There may be a need for additional vehicles at certain periods of the year – when a company is busy, say at Christmas, for example or a company might introduce a brand new fleet of vehicles. Therefore, it’s imperative that a fresh risk assessment is carried out at regular intervals and particularly whenever new practices are put into place in order to minimise the dangers and to protect the safety of the workforce.

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