Vehicles at work and reversing – three companies fined in same week after two separate fatalities

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In the last week, a construction company and groundwork contractor, along with a farm and its owner, have been fined after two separate incidents involving fatalites resulting from being struck by reversing vehicles.

In the first case, the construction company and groundwork contractor failed to ensure the safe movement of pedestrians and vehicles on their site. In the second case, the farm and owner failed to ensure the vehicle was maintained. It was found to be in poor condition, with dirty and badly positioned mirrors, and dirty glass in the cab, resulting in compromised visibility.

Reversing vehicles

What’s the problem?

Nearly a quarter of all deaths involving vehicles at work occur during reversing. Many other reversing accidents do not result in injury but cause costly damage to vehicles, equipment and premises.

Most of these accidents can be avoided by taking simple precautions, such as those below.

Guidance

Remove the need for reversing altogether, by setting up one-way systems, for example drive-through loading and unloading positions. Where reversing is unavoidable, routes should be organised to minimise the need for reversing.

Ensure visiting drivers are familiar with the layout of the workplace, and with any site rules. Do drivers have to report to reception on arrival?

In locations where reversing cannot be avoided:

  • ‘Reversing areas’ should be planned out and clearly marked.
  • People who do not need to be in reversing areas should be kept well clear.
  • Consider employing a trained signaller (a banksman), both to keep the reversing area free of pedestrians and to guide drivers. Be aware: The use of signallers is not allowed in some industries due to the size of vehicles involved, and the difficulty that drivers have in seeing them.
  • A signaller:
  • Will need to use a clear, agreed system of signalling.
  • Will need to be visible to drivers at all times.
  • Will need to stand in a safe position, from which to guide the reversing vehicle without being in its way.
  • Should wear very visible clothing, such as reflective vests, and ensure that any signals are clearly seen.
  • If drivers lose sight of the signallers they should know to stop immediately.
  • Consider whether portable radios or similar communication systems would be helpful.

The following steps might help to reduce the risk of reversing accidents. The following are examples, but it is unlikely that any single measure will be enough to ensure safety:

Site layouts can be designed (or modified) to increase visibility for drivers and pedestrians, for example:

  • By increasing the area allowed for reversing.
  • By installing fixed mirrors in smaller areas.

Reducing the dangers caused by ‘blind-spots’:

  • Most vehicles already have external side-mounted and rear-view mirrors fitted. These need to be kept clean and in good repair.
  • Refractive lenses fitted to rear windows or closed-circuit television systems can be used to help drivers to see behind the vehicle.
  • If drivers cannot see behind the vehicle, they should leave their cab and check behind the vehicle before reversing.

Reversing alarms can be fitted:

  • These should be kept in working order.
  • Audible alarms should be loud and distinct enough that they do not become part of the background noise.
  • where an audible alarm might not stand out from the background noise, flashing warning lights can be used.

Other safety devices can be fitted to vehicles:

  • For example, a number of ‘sensing’ and ‘trip’ systems are available, which either warn the driver or stop the vehicle when an obstruction is detected close to, or comes in contact with, the reversing vehicle.

Additionally:

  • Stops such as barriers, or buffers at loading bays can be used. They should be highly visible, and sensibly positioned.
  • Where vehicles reverse up to structures or edges, barriers or wheel stops can be used to warn drivers that they need to stop.
  • White lines on the floor can help the driver position the vehicle accurately.

For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/information/reversing.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

 

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 22ND SEPTEMBER 2016

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

Traffic management on construction sites – construction company fined £800,000 after worker injured

A construction company has been fined £800,000 after a contractor was run over on a large site in Surrey.

The contractor was a site foreman on the large housing development project when, in December 2014, he was struck by and pulled under a large bulk powder (mortar) carrier. He had been walking along the site road toward the rear of the vehicle which was located on a T junction having just reversed into it. He walked along the nearside of the vehicle as it pulled forward and turned towards the nearside. He was hit by the vehicle and pulled under it.

He suffered serious life threatening injuries. His skin was removed and split on his left arm and leg, he fractured his left hip requiring a pin to be inserted, and fingers on his left hand were broken. His left leg has been left permanently shorter than his right by 20mm.

Reading Crown Court heard the site, run by the construction company (appointed as the principal contractor), had failed to plan and manage the workplace transport effectively. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the court the incident could have been avoided had they monitored and taken action to ensure workers stayed behind the pedestrian barriers and not walked on the road, and prevented large HGVs reversing 100s of metres at a time.

The construction company pleaded guilty to breaches of Regulation 36 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £800,000 plus £10,984 costs.

HSE’s inspector John Berezansky said.

“[The contractor] suffered life changing injuries because [the construction company] did not properly manage and monitor the workplace transport on their construction site. When working with such large delivery vehicles and construction plant, especially on projects where there are lots of pedestrians,  the principal contractor much take responsibility and ensure the health and safety of all those involved.”

Traffic management on site

What you need to do

Important statistic: on average, each year, about 7 workers die as a result of accidents involving vehicles or mobile plant on construction sites. A further 93 are seriously injured.

The law says that you must organise a construction site so that vehicles and pedestrians using site routes can move around safely.

The routes need to be suitable for the persons or vehicles using them, in suitable positions and sufficient in number and size.

The term ‘vehicles’ includes: cars, vans, lorries, low-loaders and mobile plant such as excavators, lift trucks and site dumpers etc.

The key message is: construction site vehicle incidents can and should be prevented by the effective management of transport operations throughout the construction process.

Key issues in dealing with traffic management on site are:

  • Keeping pedestrians and vehicles apart
  • Minimising vehicle movements
  • People on site
  • Turning vehicles
  • Visibility
  • Signs and instructions

What you need to know

Each year within the construction industry, approximately ten people die as a result of being struck by vehicles on site. In addition, there are hundreds of preventable accidents and injuries.

Accidents occur from groundworks to finishing works and managers, workers, visitors to sites and members of the public can all be at risk.

Inadequate planning and control is the root cause of many construction vehicle accidents.

Keeping pedestrians and vehicles apart

The majority of construction transport accidents result from the inadequate separation of pedestrians and vehicles.

This can usually be avoided by careful planning, particularly at the design stage, and by controlling vehicle operations during construction work.

The following actions will help keep pedestrians and vehicles apart:

  • Entrances and exits – provide separate entry and exit gateways for pedestrians and vehicles;
  • Walkways – provide firm, level, well-drained pedestrian walkways that take a direct route where possible;
  • Crossings – where walkways cross roadways, provide a clearly signed and lit crossing point where drivers and pedestrians can see each other clearly;
  • Visibility – make sure drivers driving out onto public roads can see both ways along the footway before they move on to it;
  • Obstructions – do not block walkways so that pedestrians have to step onto the vehicle route; and
  • Barriers – think about installing a barrier between the roadway and walkway.

Minimising vehicle movements

Good planning can help to minimise vehicle movement around a site. For example, landscaping to reduce the quantities of fill or spoil movement.

To limit the number of vehicles on site:

  • provide car and van parking for the workforce and visitors away from the work area;
  • control entry to the work area; and
  • plan storage areas so that delivery vehicles do not have to cross the site.

People on site

Employers should take steps to make sure that all workers are fit and competent to operate the vehicles, machines and attachments they use on site by, for example:

  • checks when recruiting drivers/operators or hiring contractors;
  • training drivers and operators;
  • managing the activities of visiting drivers.

People who direct vehicle movements (signallers) must be trained and authorised to do so.

Accidents can also occur when untrained or inexperienced workers drive construction vehicles without authority. Access to vehicles should be managed and people alerted to the risk.

Turning vehicles

The need for vehicles to reverse should be avoided where possible as reversing is a major cause of fatal accidents.

One-way systems can reduce the risk, especially in storage areas.

A turning circle could be installed so that vehicles can turn without reversing.

Visibility

If vehicles reverse in areas where pedestrians cannot be excluded the risk is elevated and visibility becomes a vital consideration.

You should consider:

  • Aids for drivers – mirrors, CCTV cameras or reversing alarms that can help drivers can see movement all round the vehicle;
  • Signallers – who can be appointed to control manoeuvres and who are trained in the task;
  • Lighting – so that drivers and pedestrians on shared routes can see each other easily. Lighting may be needed after sunset or in bad weather;
  • Clothing – pedestrians on site should wear high-visibility clothing.

Signs and instructions

Make sure that all drivers and pedestrians know and understand the routes and traffic rules on site. Use standard road signs where appropriate

Provide induction training for drivers, workers and visitors and send instructions out to visitors before their visit.

For more information, visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/vehiclestrafficmanagement.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence

HEALTH & SAFETY NEWS UPDATE – 10TH MARCH 2016

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IN THIS UPDATE

Introduction

No Smoking Day – are e-cigarettes permitted or prohibited in the workplace?

European campaign – Healthy workplaces manage stress

Health and safety myths – “You don’t need to secure your load if you’re just driving down the road”

Introduction

Yesterday was No Smoking Day, and since its introduction in 1983, there are millions less smokers in the UK. But now, the most popular form of support to stop smoking is the use of e-cigarettes. BHF’s associate medical director Mike Knapton, has said “Although e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking cigarettes, there is no doubt that more research is needed into the potential long term effects of the use of them.” And whilst a ban on their use in some public places is being proposed, the decision on whether or not to permit their use in workplaces actually lies with employers. We open this week’s update with advice for employers from the HSE.

It’s a known fact that many people smoke when they feel stressed, and a major part of quitting smoking is finding ways to handle that stress. This can be difficult if the stress is work related, perhaps as a result of insufficient attention by employers to job design, work organisation and management. Work related stress develops because a person is unable to cope with the demands being placed on them. So this week we also share the HSE’s approach to tackling an issue which in 2015 accounted for 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.

And finally, we close this week’s update with HSE guidance on securing loads safely on vehicles and challenging the myth that this doesn’t need to be done for very short journeys.

We hope you find our news updates useful. If you know of anyone who may benefit from reading them, please encourage them to register at the bottom-left of our news page (http://www.eljay.co.uk/news/) and we’ll email them a link each time an update is published. If in the unlikely event any difficulties are experienced whilst registering we’ll be more than happy to help and can be contacted on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk

No Smoking Day – are e-cigarettes permitted or prohibited in the workplace?

Yesterday was No Smoking Day, run by the British Heart Foundation. Since it was introduced in 1983, there are millions less smokers in the UK. This will no doubt have been helped by the smoke-free legislation introduced in 2007 in England, banning smoking in nearly all enclosed workplaces and public spaces. But now, the most popular form of support to stop smoking is the use of e-cigarettes. BHF’s associate medical director Mike Knapton, has said “Although e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking cigarettes, there is no doubt that more research is needed into the potential long term effects of the use of them.” And whilst a ban on their use in some public places is being proposed, the decision on whether or not to permit their use in workplaces actually lies with employers. The HSE provides the following advice:

Electronic cigarettes

HSE does not enforce legislation or standards for e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are not regulated like tobacco products and there is currently no bespoke regulatory system for e-cigarettes in the UK, but they are captured by general product safety regulatory requirements.

HSE’s advice is that an employer needs to consider e-cigarettes in the wider context of risk in the workplace. We are aware that some organisations have banned their use but this is not something HSE has advised on. Employers may want to ask for advice on this from Public Health England: cleartobaccoteam@phe.gov.uk.

Some organisations may find the ‘Will you permit or prohibit electronic cigarette use on your premises?’ document useful which can be downloaded by clicking on the link: http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_900.pdf. It sets out five questions to ask yourself before deciding whether to permit or prohibit e-cigarette use on your premises.

If an employer decides to ‘prohibit’ the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace but allow for ‘vaping’ breaks or provide areas where employees can use e-cigarettes, the employer needs to ensure that those who use e-cigarettes are not put at risk of harm from second-hand tobacco smoke.

For more information about smoking at work visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/faqs/smoking.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

European campaign – Healthy workplaces manage stress

We are now in the last month of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s healthy workplaces campaign for 2014 – 2015 ‘Healthy workplaces manage stress’, more information on which can still be found by clicking on the following link: http://hw2014.healthy-workplaces.eu/en

Work-related stress, depression or anxiety is defined as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work, and associated statistics published by the HSE for 2015 are as follows:

  • The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2014/15 was 440,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1380 per 100,000 workers.
  • The number of new cases was 234,000, an incidence rate of 740 per 100,000 workers. The estimated number and rate have remained broadly flat for more than a decade.
  • The total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2014/15 was 9.9 million days. This equated to an average of 23 days lost per case.
  • In 2014/15 stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.
  • Stress is more prevalent in public service industries, such as education; health and social care; and public administration and defence.
  • By occupation, jobs that are common across public service industries (such as health; teaching; business, media and public service professionals) show higher levels of stress as compared to all jobs.
  • The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work related stress, depression or anxiety (LFS, 2009/10-2011/12) were workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support.

Well-designed, organised and managed work is good for us but when insufficient attention to job design, work organisation and management has taken place, it can result in Work related stress. Work related stress develops because a person is unable to cope with the demands being placed on them. Stress, including work related stress, can be a significant cause of illness and is known to be linked with high levels of sickness absence, staff turnover and other issues such as more errors.

Stress can hit anyone at any level of the business and recent research shows that work related stress is widespread and is not confined to particular sectors, jobs or industries. That is why a population-wide approach is necessary to tackle it.

HSE has developed the Management Standards approach to tackling work related stress; these Standards represent a set of conditions that, if present, reflect a high level of health, well-being and organisational performance. This approach helps those who have key roles in promoting organisational and individual health and well-being to develop systems to prevent illness resulting from stress. For more information click on the link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/standards/index.htm

Find out more (click on the links for more information)

For more information on work related stress and how we can tackle it, visit the HSE web page http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/index.htm or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Health and safety myths – “You don’t need to secure your load if you’re just driving down the road”

The reality

If not properly secured, vehicle loads can become unsafe, even over a short distance.

Loads that haven’t been firmly tied down increase the risk of vehicle rollover and spillage. They risk the lives of drivers and other road users, and can also cause annoying traffic disruption.

More than 1200 people a year are injured as a result of unsafe loads, and millions of pounds are lost in damaged goods.

Don’t take the risk – make sure your load is restrained and contained!

Load safety

The HSE provides the following guidance on how to secure loads safely on vehicles:

What can happen

Unrestrained loads can increase the risk of vehicle rollover and load spillage, and risk the life of the driver and other road users.

People and load falls: An unsecured load shifts inside the trailer and is more difficult to unload. The load may have to be unloaded manually. Sending someone up onto the trailer bed to sort out a load that has shifted puts them at risk of falling off.

Vehicles roll: Vehicles can roll over. In serious cases of load shift the vehicle can become unbalanced and overturn.

Product is damaged: All or part of the load may be damaged if it falls from the trailer. Product damage can be a significant cost to the business.

Load shifts forward: If there is a gap between the load and the headboard, the load can shift forward under braking, risking the life of the driver and other road users.

How to secure loads safely

Securing loads safely is good for business – product is delivered intact and on time.

To secure a load safely you need to make sure it is:

  • restrained – tied firmly down to the load bed; and
  • contained – it can’t move around (shift) inside the vehicle.

The only way to do this is with strong chains or webbing straps (lashings) attached directly to the vehicle.

If the load shifts in transit, contact the depot and agree a safe way to sort it out.

Planning your load

Planning how you secure the load is an important step to keeping workers safe.

Loading plans can help to flag up issues before they become problems.

Things to be considered will vary but could include:

  • Whether the driver will witness loading.
  • Who will apply the load restraints and what they should be.
  • How the load will be placed on the trailer bed.
  • Who will unload the vehicle and what equipment will be required.
  • Who the driver should report to on arrival.
  • What the driver should do if the load shifts during the journey.

Your employer should give you a loading plan – Full written details about every load you carry

The consignor – the person responsible for sending the load – is responsible for ensuring that the load is loaded so that it does not present a danger to others. It is important that the driver knows how the load has been secured, especially if he has not seen it loaded. This information should also be available to the delivery site.

Don’t just rely on word of mouth.

Time spent thinking about safe loading can help prevent all the problems of an unsafe load so make sure you:

  • Have the correct equipment on your premises to load vehicles safely.
  • Prepare a loading plan for each journey, to include information about:
  • how the load is to be secured; and
  • the location and layout of each delivery site, including unloading equipment and facilities.

Delivery plan should travel with the load

If you are a driver, you should keep this loading plan with you at all stages of the delivery. If there is anything you don’t understand in the loading plan, ask someone before you drive away.

How you can help make loading and unloading safer

  • Look at what other companies do – if you see a good idea, suggest it to your safety advisor or supervisor.
  • Report all ‘near miss’ incidents.
  • Ask your employer about training.

Other things to think about

To prevent falls from the cab or load bed

  • Before you set off, check that steps or handholds are in good condition.
  • On refrigerated vehicles, check the floor for ice or water and follow any instructions you are given to reduce the amount of water.
  • Wear non-slip footwear.

To prevent hitting a pedestrian

  • Ask about the layout of the sites you are delivering to. Segregation is an essential element in the loading/unloading process. It is important to have only the people involved in the process present in area where the activity is taking place.
  • Observe traffic lights, signs, road markings, speed limits and one-way systems – if you don’t understand a sign or if you think it is hard to see, tell someone.
  • Remember that you become a pedestrian when you step out of your vehicle.
  • Don’t let anyone guide your vehicle around the site unless you know they are a trained banksman or signaller.

To prevent slips and trips

  • Wear well-fitting, slip-resistant safety footwear when working on vehicles.
  • Keep the soles of your footwear clean.
  • Clean up spills and dirt, such as diesel or mud on the catwalk or load area.
  • Keep the load area tidy – pick up loose ropes and packaging.

To prevent injury caused by poor manual handling

  • Follow your employer’s guidance on lifting and moving loads.
  • Use the correct equipment to load your vehicles safely.

Use appropriate personal protective equipment

  • If your employer gives you personal protective equipment to wear, for example slip resistant footwear, be sure to use it whenever you need to. Keep it in good condition and report any faults or excess wear.

For more information visit the HSE web page: http://www.hse.gov.uk/workplacetransport/loadsafety/ or contact us on 07896 016380 or at Fiona@eljay.co.uk, and we’ll be happy to help.

Contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence