Reducing Risk Within Your Fleet. Part 4: The Vehicle
Posted on 19th April 2021 at 10:41
Good maintenance of all vehicles is essential and organisations should implement effective programmes to ensure that vehicles are maintained in a safe condition in-between servicing and MOT testing to include:
Requirements for daily and weekly driver checks of the safety-critical features such as brakes and tyres, fluid and oil levels.
Mending small problems early on to avoid expensive repairs and of course, costly insurance claims.
Your drivers will get to know their vehicles well and should be able to spot problems, listen out for unusual noises or changes. It is the employer’s responsibility to educate drivers in the importance of regular maintenance, paying attention to dashboard warning signs and what to do when they are highlighted. As well, a system should be in place to report on these factors, whether this is a physical handbook or PDA.
If a vehicle is not deemed to be 100 percent safe, the driver must not attempt to drive it.
Manual handling accounts for 30 percent of injuries at work. Almost half the resultant injuries sustained are back injuries. Even lighter loads when lifted incorrectly can cause injury.
If your employees need to move or lift items at work there is a requirement for you to undertake formal manual handling training so that you know the physical elements of lifting and moving safely and effectively. This includes:
Plan how you can lift in the safest way
Know your limits on what you can lift or move
Take steps to reduce risk of injury to the lowest reasonably practicable level
Lift and hold with both arms and hands in a secure fashion
Use gloves for a better grip if required
Keep the spine straight and bend at the knees, rather than your back
Lift smoothly and don’t over-reach
Be aware of clothing that might get caught on items you lift
Be careful with uneven weight balance – heavier at one end than the other.
Don’t lift over a high lip (for example a high car-boot lip).
Legal weight limits:
The legal weight limit of the vehicle must not be exceeded or cause danger by the way any load is carried.
The ‘manufacturer’s plate’ sets out the maximum allowed weights (vehicle plus load). You will find this plate in the engine bay or sometimes in the door frame.
Telematics allow vehicle operators to collect safety-specific information relating to a driver’s behaviour and performance. The devices can collect data surrounding a crash or critical event for subsequent review.
Early research suggests there seem to be favourable shifts towards safety by using telematics, following implementation of a telematics device. These can include reducing incidents, cost savings for the organisation and a reduction in trigger events, thought to relate to safety or productivity. However, it is important to note that drivers may adapt to these devices in a way that over time reduces their effectiveness.
Workplace transport safety:
This includes any vehicle or piece of mobile equipment used in any work setting. It covers a very wide range of vehicles, from cars, vans, lorries, motorbikes and lift trucks to plant and gardening equipment.
Every year, there are over 5,000 accidents involving transport in the workplace. About 50 of these are fatal.
The most common accidents are people falling from or being struck by a vehicle, objects falling or vehicles overturning.
Workplace transport safety includes trying to reduce accidents caused by vehicles manoeuvres, parking, loading, unloading and general work in the vicinity of vehicles.
Those at risk include staff, drivers and those coming into contact with vehicles while at work.
Part five of this series looks at: The Journey.
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