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Workplace Transport and Vehicles

25 August 2023

Almost all businesses use some form of workplace transport and vehicles. There are many examples. A busy factory site with lorries being loaded for despatch. Forklift trucks whizzing around the site. Staff arriving for work in cars. Visitors and staff walking around the site and delivery vehicles reversing into dock loading bays.

Without controls aimed at workplace transport and vehicles, there is a high likelihood of an accident occurring. Unfortunately, almost every year a number of people are killed in vehicle accidents at the workplace.


Risk Assessment – Workplace Transport and Vehicles

A risk assessment must be carried out to identify the hazards and implement controls to minimise the risk. Such controls may include:

  • Clearly marking segregated traffic routes separating pedestrians from vehicles. This would be ideally done with physical barriers.
  • Making sure route ways are sufficiently wide for the vehicle, for example aisles between warehouse racking should be wide enough for a forklift truck to move easily and manoeuvre with loads.
  • Avoidance of obstructions in traffic routes by enforcing good housekeeping.
  • Sufficient lighting, both externally and internally, to enable drivers to identify obstructions, other vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Keeping traffic routes in good repair so uneven surfaces, holes, etc. do not cause vehicle damage or accidents.
  • Speed limits that are displayed and enforced as well as signage to alert drivers to other hazards such as low headroom, or overhead cables.
  • Designing traffic routes to avoid blind bends and where visibility is restricted, mirrors or implementing one-way systems should be considered.


Common Causes of Accidents

When we talk about workplace transport and vehicles, one of the most common vehicles used in the workplace is a forklift truck. They account for many of all workplace transport accidents.

Common causes of accidents are:

  • Driving too fast.
  • Unbalanced loads.
  • Horseplay.
  • Reversing.

Reversing of workplace transport and vehicles is a frequent cause of accidents. Consideration should be given to ensure adequate space for reversing vehicles and restricting access to the reversing area. This area should be clearly marked and signed.

Visiting drivers should be made aware of the site layout and transport routes. It may be necessary to provide instructions in other languages for foreign drivers and allow for the fact they may have different visibility from left hand drive vehicles.


Maintaining Safe Workplace and Transport Vehicles

There are many different types of workplace and transport vehicles that can be used. A proper selection will depend on the task to be performed. It is very important that the correct vehicle is selected for the appropriate task and that the vehicle is safe to use. As well as regular routine maintenance, there are some basic pre-use checks drivers should make. These include:

  • Horn.
  • Lights.
  • Brakes.
  • Tyres.
  • Oil Spillages.
  • Seat and Seat Belt.
  • Any Obvious Signs of Vehicle Damage.

Whichever vehicle is being driven, the driver must be trained and competent. Safe system of work should be in place to make sure unauthorised staff cannot operate vehicles and there are sufficient work breaks to stop drivers becoming overtired.


Safety Management Resources for workplace and Transport Vehicles

The Health and Safety Authority of Ireland provides a comprehensive key transport safety management resources available on their website page titled Vehicles at Work. The resources are a convenient and easy to use information portal. In addition, the HSA has published a convenient Information Sheet that provides basic guidance on the management of vehicles and mobile work equipment in the workplace.


Online Health and Safety Training

Proactive Health and Safety training is critical to ensure a safe workplace. An effective training program can reduce the number of worker injuries and deaths. It can also reduce instances of property damage, legal liability, illnesses, and missed time from work.

Health and Safety training helps establish a culture in which employees themselves help promote proper safety procedures while on the job. It is important that new employees be properly trained and embrace the importance of workplace safety. The role of training in developing and maintaining effective hazard control activities is a proven and successful method of intervention.

This is why we have established Myelearsafety school. We pride ourselves in how we guide, support and mentor our students. They receive support throughout their learning experience and into their working lives. Our staff have extensive training experience and also have many years industry experience. We understand the challenges that exist within Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Our priority is to ensure that all learners are fully prepared to differentiate themselves in the workplace after completing our Health and Safety courses.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Health and Safety courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email