Introduction to workplace transport safety

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.

This page explains how you can take the right steps to avoid these sorts of accidents involving workplace transport.

Key actions you must take

Your risk assessment must consider all workplace transport activities such as loading and unloading. It will help if you:

Keeping sites, vehicles and drivers safe

Consider each of the following areas:

Safe site

Safe vehicle

Safe driver

Examples of accidents and how to avoid them

Forklift truck operator

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 a seat belt, was trapped underneath and killed.

How similar accidents could be avoided

  • better lighting in the yard
  • designated traffic lanes
  • reversing alarms that work effectively
  • wearing a seat belt

No separation of pedestrians and vehicles

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 them behind the vehicle. The maintenance engineer died 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