- ManagersPlan loading and unloading to minimise work at height.
Supervise safe systems and use of access equipment.
- Vehicle buyersAvoid the need to work at height by choosing ground based controls.
Insist on slip resistant surfaces.
- WorkersDon't jump off vehicles. Always use steps and handholds.
Follow safe systems of work.
Report missing or damaged equipment.
Planning loading and unloading
Three million people in Great Britain work on or near vehicles as part of their regular job. Getting on and off a vehicle to carry out loading/unloading operations and working at height on the vehicle are often viewed as incidental to the main job. Because of this, the risks involved may not be properly considered by both workers and their managers. The economic and human cost of the falls from vehicles that we know about was over £36 million in 2004/05.
Careful assessment of the tasks involved and implementation of simple and cost-effective safety controls can reduce the risk of falls from vehicles significantly and avoid potential losses for your company.
Get help from the workers who use the vehicle – they know how the job is really done and normally have good ideas about how to make it safer and more efficient.
You must think in terms of a hierarchy of controls:
- plan to avoid work at height where you can;
- where you can’t, make sure you use work equipment to prevent falls:
- first choice – vehicle-based systems;
- second choice – on-site systems;
- where the risk of a fall can’t be eliminated, use work equipment to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall;
- always consider measures that protect everyone at risk (eg platforms and guardrails) before measures that only protect the individual (eg safety harness).
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