Haulage safety tips

F12 GANHaulage safety tips

According to research conducted by the Independent Transport Commission (ITC) and reported in July 2014, the UK’s freight and logistics industries are responsible for the employment of approximately two million individuals, employed in some 150,000 companies throughout the country.

Ensuring that each of those individuals is employed safely at work is a responsibility shared by national government agencies, specific health and safety legislation and the employing haulage operators.

Nevertheless, every year almost 60 employees in the haulage and distribution sector of the economy are killed whilst at work and a further 5,000 seriously injured – according to the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

In the light of these alarming statistics, a few haulage safety tips may be in order:

  • there are specific laws and regulations relating to the roadworthiness of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), annual inspections, the safe loading and carriage of goods, drivers’ working hours and, of course, the legislation relating to the way in which the lorries are driven;
  • it is especially important to adhere to these laws and regulations since failure to do so may invalidate your haulage insurance – and if you are in any doubt, you may want to consult a specialist insurance provider such as us at Isis Insurance;
  • but the HSE’s research suggests that one of the most dangerous places for employees to be is not on the road, but during the loading and unloading of the vehicles – whether being struck by a lorry that is moving, struck by a falling load, falling from the vehicle or being pinned to the ground by an overturning or collapsing vehicle;
  • included in the checklist of haulage safety tips at these critical locations, therefore, is the provision for drivers and other employees not involved in loading or unloading to wait, free of passing traffic;
  • fork lift trucks are frequently employed in the loading and unloading of goods, so these vehicles need to be properly maintained and in good working order, with their drivers adequately monitored, trained and certified;
  • although fork lift trucks and mechanised hoists may reduce the need for the manual handling of goods, proper training on safe loading and unloading processes needs to be given to such employees;
  • when HGVs need to be manoeuvred, it is safer if reversing is minimised, but that whenever it is necessary that suitable mirrors – on and off the vehicle – are used and that CCTV is considered;
  • when employees are working at other sites, they need to be briefed on the type of dangers and hazards to which they may be exposed and the rules and procedures they need to follow to minimise the risk of injury;
  • safe access to heavy goods vehicles is likely to be provided by steps up into the cab and onto the bed of the vehicle – you may want to impose measures to ensure that these are used, rather than your employees simply climbing up or jumping down.

The health and safety of your employees as they go about their work is an important aspect of your responsibilities towards such individuals. Failure to provide an adequately safe working environment may expose you to claims of negligence in your duty of care towards your employees.