Falls from car transporters, often from the upper decks, can result in death or serious injuries. Serious accidents often involve people falling more than 2 metres over the edges. Lower falls occur, including through openings in the decking and from ladders.
Legislation that applies
The requirements of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 apply. Employers have to avoid work at height where this is reasonably practicable and, where it is not, prevent falls as far as reasonably practicable.
The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) apply to both new and existing vehicles. The Regulations should be applied proportionately and sensibly to the risks.
Duty holders should carry out an assessment of the risks associated with the movement of vehicles on and off car transporters. The assessment should identify the hazards, evaluate the risks and determine the precautions for each category of vehicle and for each design of transporter.
Drivers should be fully involved in all aspects of developing safe systems of work with transporters. Their knowledge and experience can significantly contribute to solving problems.
Assessments should generally consider:
- Edge protection - Upper decks can be 2 metres or more above the ground. The industry has agreed that it is reasonable and relatively inexpensive to fit safety rails where there is a risk of falling with the potential to cause injury.
- Lower deck - On the lower deck, space is often needed for items such as hydraulic rams to move, or to gain access for regular maintenance. Operators should provide, so far as possible, a solid surface to allow work standing on the lower deck.
- Slips and trips - Where possible, all surfaces should be maintained free from potential tripping and slipping hazards. If the risk assessment indicates that a significant slipping risk remains after taking reasonable precautions then anti slip footwear should be provided and worn while working on a car transporter.
- Ladders - should only be considered for light work of short duration and where the use of other more suitable work equipment is not appropriate. All ladders should be of sufficient height, width and strength, and securely fixed in position.
- Lighting – Vehicles should only be loaded/unloaded in areas where the lighting is adequate.
Loading and unloading at car dealers
The practice of loading and unloading car transporters on the road is widespread. Solutions to this problem depend on long-term co-operation between the dealer and the haulier. Planning deliveries and risk assessment of sites in advance can often help.
- Training - All drivers, maintenance staff and other persons should be adequately trained in the hazards and precautions identified in the risk assessments. Employers should keep adequate training records to demonstrate that training has been carried out.
Particular attention should be given to the precautions which should be adopted for:
- parts of car transporters carrying normal width vehicles where rails or deck gap covers may not reasonably be fitted; and
- carrying wide-bodied vehicles on upper decks.
- familiarisation training on new vehicles to minimise the risk of driver error, for example, automatics, four by fours, and left hand drive vehicles.
- any activities that may lead to sudden unexpected movement that may result in either a slip, fall or muscle injury.