This demonstrates that even the shortest of journeys, such as driving around the workplace to move equipment, can be hazardous and require you to take safety precautions.
When using a vehicle on work premises it is often easy to think that travelling a short distance does not necessitate safety precautions. However, both drivers and pedestrians are regularly injured during activities involving vehicles, including being hit, falling from vehicles (whether getting on or off), or when loading or unloading goods.
Safety precautions are therefore essential such as wearing a seat belt, or other protective wear, even on the shortest of journeys. It is important to remember incidents are always a risk and wearing a seat belt could be the difference between suffering a minor or serious injury.
Remember that short cuts may make a task quicker, but it is important to consider whether they are really worth it if they endanger yourself and others? Having designated traffic routes that segregate vehicles from pedestrians is vital in ensuring the safety of those working on the ground. Where this is not possible, sufficient barriers and warning signs should be displayed with clear pedestrian crossings, as well as requiring those working near vehicles to wear high visibility clothing.
It is important to treat roads around the workplace like any other public route, implementing traffic controls such as speed limits and necessary warning signs. Roads also need to be maintained, with surfaces suitable for the level of traffic and type of vehicles using the routes, reducing uneven terrain.
Nearly 25% of deaths involving vehicles at work occur as a result of reversing2. This is why many businesses have a one-way system, reducing the need for vehicles to reverse. Not only can pedestrians easily be injured, but often expensive equipment or buildings are damaged as a result of vehicles reversing. When reversing is the only option, provide dedicated areas for reversing with barriers such as reverse parking; ensure vehicles are equipped with reversing alarms, cameras or flashing beacons; and use a signaller to guide drivers safely.
Though not always fitted, it is also important to ensure vehicles have additional external mirrors properly positioned to reduce blind spots and increase probability of avoiding any near-by pedestrians.
Businesses can ensure the appropriate safety precautions are in place by carrying out proper risk assessments around the work place, identifying any hazards which may have been previously overlooked, particularly in workplaces that change regularly such as construction sites. A risk assessment must be reviewed on a regular basis to further reduce the chances of incidents occurring. It is also vital for staff to be provided with defensive driver training and vehicles to be maintained to ensure safety whilst behind the wheel.
Although the majority of incidents can be avoided by taking the time to be aware of surroundings and taking the correct safety precautions, incidents may still happen. Therefore, ensure an emergency procedure is in place and conduct regular drills to make staff aware of the steps that should be taken.
Safe driving tips
- Take safety precautions as you would with any journey, wearing a seatbelt and any other necessary protective wear;
- Use designated traffic routes on-site;
- Wear high visibility clothing if working near vehicles;
- Fit vehicles with additional external mirrors to reduce blind spots;
- Implement a drive out forward policy from parking spots;
- Provide all employees with onsite safety training;
- Carry out regular site risk assessments to identify any issues which may need to be addressed.