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RR681 - Accidents in the transport industry

The transport industry has for some time been acknowledged as a relatively dangerous industry. One of the key hazards within the transport sector is posed by loads shifting in transit and then falling from vehicles, causing injuries and/or fatalities. Between 2006 and 2007 HSE identified 5 deaths and over 216 major injuries resulting from objects falling onto people in the ‘freight by road’ industry. A further 946 people received injuries severe enough to require more than three days absence from work (HSE, 2008). The impact of such incidents are not, however, limited to workers within the industry. A load shifting in transit on the public highways and byways can, and have, killed members of the public.

Whilst the negative outcomes of what can happen when a load shifts are relatively clear, the reasons as to why loads shift is less clear. Whilst inadequacy of securing methods are bound to play a part, this is possibly just the visible part of deeper issues. The aim of this research has been to explore load security issues, identifying causal and contributory factors to loads shifting.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-03-19