Falls from vehicles

Accidents caused by moving lorries at the workplace caused 2 deaths, 79 major injuries and 249 over-3-day injuries to employees in the 'freight by road' industry, in the 2009/10 work year. Accidents included drivers being crushed whilst coupling trailers to trucks, being hit by other vehicles (particularly fork trucks) while out of their cabs, and people being crushed by reversing vehicles.

Measures to reduce the risk of falls include:

  • avoiding the need for climbing onto trailers where possible;
  • providing steps and handholds where access is still required;
  • looking for safety features when buying a new vehicle;
  • trying out different types of footwear to see which provides most slip-resistance for the environment employees will be working in;
  • workers should never have their back to the edge of the trailer if they are within 1 metre of it. Never walk backwards on a trailer;
  • don't jump from a truck cab or trailer;
  • regularly check the condition of hand-holds to detect deterioration in load-bearing capacity.

HSE started a specific campaign to reduce injuries caused by falls from vehicles in October 2007.

Further relevant guidance includes safe methods of sheeting and unsheeting vehicles and guidance on preventing falls whilst unloading vehicles.

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