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Transport safety must be tightened says HSC

The transport industry continues to have one of the worst records for major injuries due to falls from vehicles during the loading and unloading of goods.

Figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2004/05 showed that transport accounted for 31 percent of all workplace fatalities.

With an estimated three million people in Great Britain working with vehicles as part of their normal job, HSE’s ongoing workplace transport campaign warns workers to take sensible precautions to minimise risks in all vehicle related work. The latest focus is to ensure they do not set themselves up for a fall.

Marking the current awareness campaign, Judith Hackitt, chair of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) said: “Every year 2000 workers are seriously injured after falling from their vehicle. It is vital that those who work in the transport industry take this issue seriously. Last year four workers lost their lives after falling from their truck or lorry and the cost of these deaths and serious injuries to the industry is in excess of £35 million a year.”

“A majority of falls lead to serious injuries that affect workers and their families. Simple sensible precautions can avoid these incidents and the distress they cause. Those who buy and manage the many fleets of workplace vehicles up and down the country have an opportunity to set a real leadership example.”

The awareness campaign aims to help those who are responsible for buying and managing workplace vehicles with simple steps that can be taken to improve the safety of vehicles:

  • Vehicles should be well maintained and checked regularly

  • Procedures for loading and unloading should avoid the need to work at height where possible

  • Floor surfaces should be anti slip when possible, or, slip-resistant footwear provided

  • If work at height is unavoidable steps, platforms and other safety equipment should be provided