Vehicle movements in the workplace require careful management to control and reduce the likelihood of accidents. Simple steps can often prove effective, because many of the problems that result in accidents are very straightforward.
People associated with vehicles are often visiting warehouses for a relatively short time and are often employed by other companies. An employer has a legal duty to make sure that people are safe in the workplace they control, even where they are employed by others or are members of the public
When lorry drivers arrive on site, it should be clear what their responsibilities are and who is in charge of their activity on the site. Usually, a driver will be responsible for everything relating to the movement of their vehicle, and site workers are responsible for everything that happens while the vehicle is stationary, like loading and unloading.
Make sure that visiting drivers know what to expect when they arrive and are made aware of any restrictions on vehicle size or type.
All visitors should be carefully managed while on site. They should be given clear instructions on site rules, which should include the use of PPE where necessary to ensure their own safety and that of others..
It is important that site workers and visiting employees are able to communicate effectively, using agreed signals where verbal communication is not possible.
Every workplace should be organised so that pedestrians and vehicles can circulate safely. Workplace traffic routes should be suitable for the people and vehicles using them. Where vehicles and pedestrians use the same traffic route, ideally there should be adequate separation between them.
You can achieve separation by keeping pedestrians and vehicles well clear of one another, ideally using completely different routes. If routes must be close to each other, physical barriers to prevent pedestrians or vehicles straying into each other’s areas should be put in place where this is reasonably practicable.
You need to make sure that your site itself, the vehicles being used, and the people working with and around this equipment, are all effectively managed to control the risks. There is a Site inspection – Workplace transport checklist on the HSE website which may be useful.
The risk of accidents happening can be greater at certain times. Risk assessments should take account of periods where the number of vehicles or pedestrians moving along traffic routes change, e.g. when office staff arrive or leave, or when shifts change. Put in place suitable measures to control these risks, e.g. stopping lorry movements during shift changes.
This topic is covered in more detail in the free comprehensive guide Warehousing and storage: A guide to health and safety’ HSG76, which is also available to buy in hard copy.
You can find out more on the HSE workplace transport website: