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'Highway Code' for plant operators


THE HEALTH and Safety Executive is considering bringing out a 'Highway Code' for plant operators and truck drivers as part of a series of proposals designed to cut workplace transport accidents, which it believes costs the country £500 million pounds a year.

The HSE intends by 2007 to bring out a set of standards for both operators and supervisors and is holding a series of regional workshops from late summer onwards in order to seek the views from across industry on what it should cover.

It believes that workplace transport - a wide area encompassing plant on construction sites to delivery trucks - is currently beset by poor knowledge and cavalier attitudes to the risks.

The standards will cover areas such as selection of drivers, selection and maintenance of vehicles, how to assess the levels of skill and disciplinary procedures.

The HSE's workplace transport specialist, Colin Chatten, said the intention was to provide guidance to operators and supervisors alike. He said: 'We want something for everyone to aspire to, perhaps as a poster that can be put up in the workplace.The 'Highway Code' could be a pocket book, telling drivers how to recognise the site signs for instance.'

It is hoped that the industry representatives will back calls for specific training for those involved with plant and vehicles.

'We want a recognised level of training but we prefer to talk about competence because we realise that someone who has been operating a forklift for 15 years will probably be better prepared than a youngster who has just got their card.But we would like to be as focused on human behaviour.

'Some drivers have developed an attitude over the years where they no longer appreciate the risks involved.

'One of the things we want to do is to allow duty holders to recognise who the risk-takers are.'