Workplace transport

Every year, there are accidents involving transport in the workplace, some of which result in people being killed.

People are knocked down, run over, or crushed against fixed parts by vehicles (eg HGVs, lift trucks and tractors), plant and trailers. People also fall from vehicles – whether getting on or off, working at height, or when loading or unloading.

Case study one

A forklift truck operator was driving his truck in a yard that was poorly lit and did not have designated traffic lanes for either industrial trucks or vehicles. As the operator drove across the yard, a large industrial truck started to reverse into it.

The truck driver had checked his mirrors and, although the truck was fitted with reversing alarms, they failed to detect that the forklift was in its path. The truck hit the forklift, which tipped over onto its side. The forklift operator, who was not wearing his seat belt, was trapped underneath. He was pronounced dead at the scene, despite the efforts of the plant emergency response team and the emergency medical service.

How similar accidents could be avoided

  • Better lighting in the yard
  • Designated traffic lanes
  • Reversing alarms that work effectively
  • Wearing a seat belt

What do I have to do?

Think about whether there is an easier, safer way of doing the job. Your risk assessment must consider all workplace transport activities such as loading and unloading. It will help if you:

Case study two

While working on the construction of a new school, a maintenance engineer took a short cut across the vehicle route rather than using the pedestrian pathway.

As the building work was nearing completion, banksmen were not felt to be necessary for reversing vehicles. There were no barriers in place to prevent pedestrians crossing vehicle routes, and there were no signs to warn of the dangers of moving vehicles.

The maintenance engineer was struck by a reversing dumper truck whose driver had failed to see him behind the vehicle. The maintenance engineer died at the scene from multiple injuries.

How similar accidents could be avoided

  • Using adequately trained banksmen when needed, even when work is nearing completion
  • Barriers in place to keep pedestrians and vehicles apart
  • Signs warning of moving vehicles

How can I do it?

Consider each of the following areas:

Safe site

Safe vehicle

Safe driver

Find out more

The law

Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, regulation 17

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)

Updated 2022-09-06