Summary of The Health and Safety Fortnightly Focus

Over the last fortnight, we have looked at various health and safety topics within the transport industry. Here is a brief summary as to what we have covered:

The importance or pre-use checks:

Pre-use checks are an essential part of ensuring that your vehicles are safe and roadworthy, the checks need to be carried at the start or each shift and the record of these checks needs to be kept for a minimum of 15 months. The checks need to be carried out by the driver, who is responsible for ensuring the vehicle is safe to be on the road. The easiest way to ensure that the key areas for checking have been done is to provide drivers with a checklist to follow.  Ensure that drivers know not to take out any vehicle that has not passed the pre-use check.

Driving licence checking:

It is a legal requirement for companies to check the driving licences of their operatives to ensure they hold the correct licence to drive the vehicles they will be driving and to monitor if they have any driving convictions. 

Driving licences should be checked at induction / prior to a new starter taking out any of your vehicles and then periodically throughout and employees time with you, the frequency of the checks will depend on the number of points a driver has, the more points they have, the more frequently their licence should be checked. 

Drivers should also be informed that they need to immediately inform the office / supervisors if they receive points or develop a medical condition that may affect their driving licence. 

Good housekeeping and lighting at depots:

Every year there are accident caused due to poor housekeeping and lighting at depots, most of which are avoidable.   Ensure that traffic routes have adequate lighting and are kept free from obstructions so that pedestrians do not need to walk on vehicle routes and that drivers can clearly see pedestrian walkways. 

Traffic systems on site:

Ensure that everyone on site is aware of the traffic and pedestrian routes on site as well as the speed limits are on site.  When planning routes around your site, ensure that the routes are suitable for their intended purpose, that pedestrians and vehicles are adequately separated and vehicle routes are wide enough for the vehicles using them to manoeuvre safely.   Ensure that the routes are adequately signposted.

Provide induction training for all drivers, workers and visitors onsite along with separate entrances for vehicles and pedestrians. If there is no other option than for a pedestrian walkway to cross a traffic route, ensure that the crossing is well lit and clearly signposted for both the drivers and pedestrians. Pedestrians should always be wearing hi vis clothing. 

Emergency planning – fire safety, ill health and accidents:

Ensure that there are emergency plans in place and that these plans are communicated to all staff and visitors. If you’re on a site that has shared occupancy then you need to agree plans with all parties so that everyone knows how to evacuate and where the meeting points will be. 

Escape routes need to be kept clear from obstructions and vehicles need to be parked so they are not blocking routes or signage.   Each site should have fire marshals / fire wardens that are proactively involved in the fire risk assessments, monitor the effectiveness of the risk assessments i.e. fire equipment checks, fire drills etc and will ensure that everyone evacuates in the event of an emergency. 

During induction training all employees should be instructed one what do if they have an accident or become unwell whilst at work, who they report to, where first aid boxes are etc. There should be a competent first aider on site who can administer minor first aid, with plans in place for more serious accidents i.e. getting assistance from emergency services to evacuate an injured person. 

Have plans in place as to what a driver should do if they are taken unwell whilst off site, who to contact, how they will be located / assistance will be given to them and / or how the vehicle will be recovered. 

Safe access and egress from vehicles:

Drivers and / or passengers can fall from vehicles, causing serious injuries.  Ensure that drivers park on firm even ground and are aware of their surroundings both prior to getting into a vehicle or getting out of one, are their loose stones, soil etc that can cause people to lose their footings.   Provide PPE for your workers to include non-slip safety boots with ankle support.   Ensure that vehicles are inspected before use, ensure that steps to vehicle cabs are clean and clear from grit and that grab rails are secure and clean.   Always maintain 3 points of contact when accessing or egressing the vehicle and NEVER jump down from the vehicle cab. 

Avoiding in cab distractions:

There are many things in vehicles nowadays that can become a distraction to drivers. Many of these items are designed to make life easier but used at the wrong time, they can increase the chance of a driver having an accident by becoming distracted.  Mobile phones are an obvious one to ban from use whilst driving, however, also ensure that drivers set their Satnavs prior to setting off rather than adjusting them whilst driving. Ensure that all drivers are fully trained and competent in the use of any vehicle camera system that are fitted to the vehicle and that they are aware to only use it for its intended purpose i.e. reversing cameras.  Smart watches should not be used to read or reply to messages whilst driving. 

Passenger Safety:

Passenger safety is a big issue, not just for those transporting people but also for drivers that might have a colleague travelling with them.   It is the drivers responsibility to ensure that passengers are safe.  Ensure that passengers are wearing seatbelts (where fitted) and access / egress the vehicle safely and that drivers stick to the speed limits and road rules. 

If a vehicle is carrying goods that are classed as dangerous goods, then passengers should not be in the vehicle unless those passengers are part of the vehicle crew and therefore also trained in dangerous goods awareness. 

Passengers also have a duty to ensure they are not deliberately distracting the driver!

Lone Working:

Lone workers are classed as those that work by themselves without close or direct supervisions, therefore drivers by the nature of their roles are classed as lone workers.   Ensure that your lone workers have a way to contact the office / a supervisor should they need assistance.  Fit trackers to your vehicles to ensure you can track down a vehicle if needs be. 

Have policies in place for lone workers, include check points for them throughout their shifts and how to deal with situations in which they may be vulnerable i.e. if they have to deal with an aggrieved customer.  Ensure that drivers know to take their breaks to avoid fatigue and what to do if they become unwell. 

Ensure that vehicles are roadworthy and checked prior to each use to reduce the risk of breakdowns or a tyre blow out whilst travelling. 


Whilst carrying out deliveries or refuelling vehicles it is possible for spillages to occur.   Ensure that all operatives are trained with how to deal with these.  All operatives should be provided with the material safety data sheets for any chemicals / hazardous substances that they may be working with, this will inform them of the PPE that is required when working with the substance as well as what to do if spillages occur. 

If a spillage occurs the 4 basic generic steps to follow are:

1. Communicate the hazard

2. Control the spill

3. Contain the hazard

4. Clean up the spill and assess any damage to the area. 

Coupling and uncoupling of trailers:

This is a task that can go very wrong very quickly and therefore only trained and competent drivers / operatives should carry out the task.  Ensure that the vehicle and trailer are parked on firm even ground that can withstand the weight of the load. 

Never pass or allow others to pass between the vehicle and the trailer.  Always ensure that all safety devices are engaged and never place fingers into the towing jaw.   PPE must be worn at all times, including gloves, non-slip safety boots and hi vis clothing. 

Route planning:

Driving is one of the most dangerous activities that people do throughout their working day. Employers have a duty of care to their employees to put in place all reasonably practicable measures to keep their employees safe whilst on the road. 

Ensure that every journey your drivers need to take is a planned one.  When planning a journey take into account the following:

• Accident hot spots or current road works.

• High risk areas like schools, shopping centres and hospitals.

• Low bridges – will your vehicles fit under them.

• Width and / or weight restrictions on roads. 

• Road types.

• Avoid peak traffic hours where possible.

If you need any more information on health and safety or looking to get a consultant, please get in touch with info@totalcompliance.co.uk or call 0345 9001312.

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