A REPORT commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive has criticised the manufacturers of trucks and vans for not doing enough to eliminate slips and trips.
The report from the Health and Safety Laboratory said that drivers fall too often because of differences in the size and material of cab steps and lack of handholds.
It said: 'There is very little consistency in step dimensions, both in height and depth and the variation is most likely to catch out a person climbing or descending the steps.'
The researchers found that the slip resistance of steps was also variable, with too much reliance on profiled steps, which require a cleated sole, rather than 'microroughness', which would also improve resistance in wet conditions.
Many drivers reported knee injuries from jumping rather than risk climbing down from the cab.
Access to the fifth wheel area was also criticised, with too few steps and handholds, poor lighting and poor slip resistance - especially given the likely presence of spilt oil.
But the report also criticised the management of hauliers and truck fleets. It said: 'Health and safety does not seem to feature highly in the haulage industry, with cost and time factors taking the precedence. Schedules slip and drivers can feel pressure to cut corners.'