What's the problem?

Tipping can be dangerous. The machinery or load can seriously hurt people. A lot of vehicles overturn each year, sometimes causing fatal accidents.

This guidance should be followed to help avoid problems


Drivers visiting a site must report to the site office.

The site operator and the visiting driver need to speak to each other and co-operate, for example:

  • Making sure that everyone is aware tipping is about to happen and only those people involved in the tipping are in the immediate area.
  • Arranging for wheel-stops to be used.

The site operator must make sure that tipping faces are suitable and safe, for example by making sure that tipping platforms faces are compacted on landfill sites etc., and that there are no steep side slopes.

Tipping sites should be:

  • Level
  • Firm and stable (the whole site must be able to hold the vehicle and load during tipping)
  • Clear overhead (there must be no power cables or pipe work)

Articulated vehicles must be tipped with the cab and trailer in line.

Always check that the load is evenly spread across the vehicle.

The vehicle should remain level at all times, even if it is driven forward during tipping.

Wheel-stops must be used when possible to help position vehicles.

  • They must be large enough to let the driver know when to stop.
  • When tipping into a pit or trench, the enough from the edge to prevent the vehicle overloading the edge.

Make sure that the tailgate is safe. The tailgate:

  • Should be released and then locked open or removed completely, before tipping starts.
  • If the load is released through an opening or chute, the tailgate latch must to be strong enough to take the full impact of the load when it is tipped.
  • Check that the load will be released smoothly and safely and that it cannot jam under the tailgate.

Never allow anyone to stand or walk behind the vehicle when the body is raised or during tipping.

Whenever possible, tipping mechanisms should be controlled from the cab.

When raising or lowering the body, the driver should never leave the vehicle and should make sure that the cab doors are closed.

  • The use of 'donkey engines' to drive the tipping mechanism is not recommended.
  • Drivers should be experienced enough to anticipate loads sticking.
    • The vehicle must never be driven in order to shake free a stuck load. If the load does stick, the body must be lowered and the load freed before the body is raised again.
    • Aids such as mechanical 'Vibratory Discharge Systems' can help.
    • The operator should always make sure that the body is completely empty after tipping.
    • The operator should not drive more than a few metres forward to make sure the load is clear, and should only do this after checking the load is at the bottom of the tipping body.
  • If the vehicle begins to topple over, the driver should brace him/herself against the back of the driver's seat and hold firmly on to the steering wheel. The driver should never try to jump out of a lorry that is falling over.
  • Vehicles should not touch ANY cables. It is not always clear what sort of cable might have been touched. Some telephone and electricity cables look similar. If this does happen, and the situation cannot be made safe immediately:
  • The driver should leave the vehicle by jumping as far clear as possible.
  • The driver must NEVER make contact with the ground and the vehicle, or anything touching the vehicle, at the same time as this would complete an electrical circuit and may cause serious injury or death.
  • The driver must then make sure that no-one else comes into contact with the vehicle or anything touching it, while it is still touching the power cable.
  • The surrounding area should be secured, and the local electricity supplier contacted to arrange for removal of the power supply. If you do not know your local number, call 999.

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