Do vehicles visit your workplace to deliver or collect goods?
Does your business use vehicles to deliver or collect goods from
other businesses? If so, this guidance applies to you. Deliveries
and collections are essential to business, but can be some of the
most dangerous activities you have to deal with. Hazards may
include manual handling injuries when loads are moved by hand,
health and fire risks if hazardous loads are spilled, and risks
from using cranes or other lifting equipment such as lorry loaders.
However this guidance deals primarily with the main workplace
hazards - those to do with the vehicles involved,
and it is often the drivers of those vehicles who are the
Many of these delivery and collection accidents could be
prevented if there was better co-operation between
the parties involved - this Information Sheet describes how people
and organisations involved can co-operate to prevent workplace
Risks from driving on the public highway are not covered in this
guidance2. This guidance has limited application to
deliveries and collections at domestic premises where the recipient
has no duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974,
however companies still need to take reasonable steps to prevent
accidents during these deliveries and collections. This guidance
is general and does not deal with specific hazards related to
particular loads such as chemicals, tank containers etc.
Additional guidance is available for "Safe unloading of steel
What's the problem?
Every year, about 70 people are killed and 2000 seriously
injured in accidents involving vehicles in and around workplaces.
A significant number of these occur during deliveries and
collections. Unless effective precautions are taken, people are at
risk from :-
- Pedestrians being hit by moving vehicles
- People falling from vehicles
- Vehicles turning over
- People being hit by objects falling from vehicles
Individuals are often unfairly blamed for accidents which could
have been prevented if duty holders had co-operated with one
The three key duty holders are:
- the supplier sending the goods
- the carrier - the haulier or other company
carrying the goods
- the recipient - the person receiving the
A common factor in delivery accidents is the lack of any
agreement between supplier, carrier and recipient about
"who is responsible for what" in terms of safety. In
most work situations the safety of an employee is primarily the
responsibility of his or her employer, but in order to deliver or
collect goods employees have to visit premises controlled by
others. The safety of everyone at these premises, including people
visiting the site, is in the hands of the person in charge of the
site (the recipient or supplier) as they should control what takes
place on site.
Irresponsible employers may use this overlap in responsibilities
as an excuse for not doing more to protect those involved in
deliveries. This overlap can cause dangerous misunderstandings
unless all parties exchange information about the
main risks involved, and agree who will do what to
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must assess delivery and
collection risks and reduce them as far as reasonably
practicable.4 Current arrangements for preventing
vehicle accidents during deliveries and collections should be
reviewed in consultation with safety representatives, drivers and
employees. Consider what further steps you could take in
co-operating to reduce risk. The rest of this Information Sheet
outlines steps which are considered to be reasonably
General principles of good practice
Safety arrangements for deliveries and collections should be
assessed before orders are taken or placed.
Planning safety precautions reduces the risk of accidents and can
also save time and money. For instance, it should prevent
deliveries being delayed or sent back because a site can't
handle the load or the vehicle carrying it.
Incorporate safety arrangements in order-placing and
order-taking documents so that the parties involved
have to check that safety arrangements are
adequate before authorising a particular delivery or collection.
Even if orders are placed or taken at short notice, fax, e-mail and
telephone will usually make it easy to agree safety arrangements
before the delivery or collection.
The delivery vehicle driver plays a key part in
delivery safety, and is often the person injured in delivery or
collection accidents - the driver should receive adequate safety
information for each delivery or collection beforehand.
The agreement about delivery or collection safety arrangements
can take different forms, for instance:
- Where a recipient regularly receives similar
deliveries from a particular supplier or carrier all parties
should agree a written delivery plan. If something about a
particular delivery may make it unsafe to rely on the usual plan,
the delivery should not start until the "special"
precautions have been agreed by fax, e-mail or telephone;
- When recipients, suppliers and carriers deal with each other
on a "last-minute, one-off" basis it
will usually be reasonably practicable to exchange
basic delivery safety information, and agree on
the main precautions at the time an order is placed
In some situations other parties may be involved. For instance,
a recipient may place an order with a supplier who arranges for a
third company to provide the goods, who in turn arranges for a
haulier to make the delivery. Such complex arrangements can easily
go wrong due to misunderstandings and failures in communication.
The dangers of this should be considered before entering into these
arrangements. If a delivery accident occurs, all
parties in the chain may be asked to show that they took
all reasonable steps to co-operate to achieve safety.
The three general principles which suppliers, carriers and recipients should
- send out safety information on deliveries and collections to
other parties in the delivery chain
- request safety information on deliveries and collections from
other parties in the delivery chain
- agree a safe delivery plan
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How suppliers, carriers and recipients can co-operate.
By exchanging information as set out in the general principles
The main purposes are:-
- to make expectations clear
- to ask others in the chain whether they can meet these
- if expectations cannot be met, to agree what to do. If
agreement cannot be reached on how significant safety issues will
be dealt with, the delivery or collection should not take
All parties involved in deliveries should, so far as reasonably
practicable, exchange and agree information to ensure goods can be
delivered and collected safely.
In particular consider
- any restrictions on the type or size of vehicle the site can
safely handle eg are visiting lorries required to have CCTV or
other reversing aids fitted.
- any restrictions on when goods should be delivered or
- best approach routes to the site, especially if nearby
one-way systems, low bridges, narrow roads, awkward access etc
could cause problems for visiting vehicles
- a site plan or sketch showing parking, location of reception,
route to take through the site, location of (un)loading area
- where visiting vehicles should park on arrival, where and
whom to report to. Generally parking and subsequent (un)loading
should be off the road and pavement, well away from members of
the public. If articulated vehicles are (un)coupled, drivers
should have been instructed on how to park each vehicle type they
use, as there can be significant differences and
misunderstandings are common. Trailer parking and cab
hand brakes should always be used - there have been a
number of fatal accidents recently caused by not using
- the (un)loading area should be in a designated, adequately
lit area from which people and vehicles not essential for
(un)loading are excluded.
- any procedures the visiting driver needs to follow eg wearing
high visibility vest, limits on use of mobile phones,
prohibitions on reversing or conditions for reversing such as the
use of a banksman.6
- who will be in overall charge of the (un)loading of visiting
- what visiting drivers or site staff should do if they are not
satisfied with safety arrangements for the delivery or collection
(who to report concerns to etc)
- contact details for the other parties in case of
- what to do if a load appears to have shifted dangerously in
- the point at which the visiting driver will "give
permission" for his vehicle to be un)loaded, and how this
hand-over will be clearly understood by all. Before this time
site staff should keep clear of the vehicle, and after this time
the driver should keep clear of the vehicle
- the method of (un)loading - what equipment is available,
what is the capacity of the lifting equipment7
- where the driver should be during the (un)loading of his
vehicle. Drivers are often the victims of delivery accidents.
It is often unrealistic and sometimes unsafe to expect drivers to
stay in their cab throughout (un)loading of their vehicle. A
designated safe area for visiting drivers with easy, safe access
to toilet and refreshment facilities reduces risks considerably.
A safe area may be needed for drivers to observe
- the delivery vehicle driver should not use a FLT at a
delivery site unless this has been agreed in advance and steps
taken to ensure that the FLT is well maintained and the site
suitable. The driver must also be trained to drive FLTs in
accordance with the Approved Code of Practice9
- if access onto the vehicle is likely, how will falls be
prevented or fall risks reduced. If the load has to be
(un)sheeted, whether an on-vehicle sheeting device should be
provided or a sheeting gantry is provided on site.
- to reduce the need for people to go up onto vehicles or the
load itself, all parties should consider removing the need for
sheeting whole loads solely for weather protection during
transit (e.g. by using curtain sided vehicles rather than
flatbeds, or by shrink-wrapping individual pallets or packs of
goods). Shrink-wrapping may also result in cost and time savings
e.g. reduced turnaround times and reduced product wastage through
weather damage at the recipients' premises.
- all parties should set up simple, well understood systems for
reporting any vehicle accidents, incidents, near-misses and other
safety concerns during deliveries and collections, and exchanging
information with the other parties. All should be encouraged to
report incidents and concerns and appropriate action taken.
- where deliveries or collections will take place regularly and
special risks are likely, or at sites where visiting vehicles
have had problems before it may be necessary for a manager to
visit the site before sending further vehicles, to assess in more
detail the risks involved and agree precautions
- are drivers able to understand English or does the plan need
to be available in translation, use pictograms where
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Suppliers and recipients - organising your site for safe
deliveries and collections
You can find detailed advice on controlling workplace vehicle
risks in HSE booklet HSG136 Workplace Transport
Safety10,11 & 12.
Carriers - making collections and deliveries safely
Drivers may be faced with unexpected situations
- Carriers should train drivers in general safety precautions
to take when visiting sites, in particular concerning the risks
involved in (un)loading delivery vehicles, and give them clear
instructions on what to do if they are not satisfied with the
arrangements for ensuring safety at a particular site. Drivers
should be authorised to refuse or halt the (un)loading of their
vehicle on safety grounds.
- In addition to training, providing drivers with simple
delivery safety checklists may help them check that reasonable
precautions have been taken, and help them decide if it is
reasonable for them to refuse to continue with a particular
delivery or collection.
- Carriers should ensure that any agency drivers they use are
familiar with the carrier's arrangements for delivery
What the law requires
Employers have duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc
Act 1974 to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health
and safety at work of their employees and others who may be
affected by their work activities (such as drivers). Under the
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, where 2
or more employers share a workplace, even on a temporary basis,
they must co-operate with each other to make sure they both comply
with their legal duties.
These Regulations also require employers to carry out a risk
assessment of the hazards involved and to identify measures needed
to comply with Health and Safety legislation.
The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
require employers to ensure that all lifting operations are
properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised
and carried out in a safe manner. Lifting equipment needs to be
suitable for the use to which it is being put, properly maintained,
marked with its safe working load and periodically thoroughly
examined and inspected.