Struck by accidents are the cause of about 20% of injuries in MVR. This category includes being struck by vehicles falling off inspection lifts, materials falling from elevated storage areas or the raised forks on fork lift trucks, by tools and materials ejected from plant and equipment and by movement of vehicles actually under repair.
Working with vehicles every day, it is possible to become complacent about the potentially lethal forces arising from the movement of vehicles while under repair.
For example, serious, and in some cases fatal injuries have occurred where vehicles, which had been left in gear and with their handbrakes off, had been started up from outside the vehicle.
- There was a fatal accident when a mechanic started the engine of a light goods vehicle from outside the vehicle and it started to move because it was in gear and the handbrake was off. He tried reaching into the cab to turn off the ignition but the cab door hit an obstruction and he was crushed between the door and its frame.
- A mechanic working on a car on a four-post lift started the engine from alongside the ramp. The vehicle shot forward off the ramp, hitting a wall and narrowly missing another employee. The vehicle had been left in gear with the handbrake off.
- A mechanic was working alone repairing an HGV. He reached into the cab from the ground and switched on the ignition. The HGV, which was in gear with the handbrake off, started to move forward. The mechanic was crushed between the offside of the vehicle and a second lorry parked alongside.
Engines should be started ONLY by someone sitting in the driver's seat, with the handbrake ON and vehicle in neutral gear.
A number of fatal accidents have resulted simply from an unpowered vehicle moving down a slope:
- The brake system on commercial tractor unit was of the failsafe spring applied/air release type. The operative released the brake while the vehicle was not running, but only partial pressure in the system caused brake drag. The operative went to rear of the vehicle, which was on a slight gradient. It rolled back and fatally crushed him against another lorry.
- Health and safety in motor vehicle repair and associated industries - HSG261
- Workplace transport safety: An employers' guide - HSG136
- Working safely under motor vehicles being repaired - INDG434