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Workplace transport risk assessments | 7 tips for separating vehicles and pedestrians

Written on 22 January 2024

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s recent prosecution of Sunrise Poultry Farms serves as a stark reminder of the need to undertake workplace transport risk assessments and consider the risks where pedestrians and vehicles share routes.

A 19-year-old employee had only been working for Sunrise Poultry Farms for two weeks when he was fatally crushed between a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and a wall in April 2021.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 17 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and was ordered to pay a fine of £233,000, plus costs of £8,841, at a hearing at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on 22 November 2023.

Legal obligations and workplace transport risk assessments

20 people died as a result of being hit by a moving vehicle in 2023, according to the HSE’s annual fatal injury statistics.

By law, pedestrians or vehicles must be able to use a traffic route without causing danger to the health or safety of people working near it. But in practical terms, what does this mean for employers?

The first step is identifying areas on your site where it is foreseeable that pedestrians and vehicles may share routes – this may be externally in yard areas or car parks, or even internally in warehouses, where powered lifting equipment is used.

A risk assessment should be recorded to highlight any areas of risk for either the vehicle operator of pedestrian; remember to not only consider the risk to your employees but also any visitors or members of the public.

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Measures to reduce risk

Some of the measures you can take to reduce the risk of workers being hit by a moving vehicle include:

Promote safe practices through training and supervision

With all of this in place, there may still be a genuine need for vehicles and pedestrians to share a route, for example vehicle marshals sometimes known as banksmen, assisting HGVs or plant to manoeuvre. In such cases, it’s vital that all those involved in such operations have undergone sufficient training, to deem them competent to do so.

Lastly, but most importantly, employers should provide information, instruction and training to employees, drivers, and visitors regarding the risks on site and the site rules they should follow to keep themselves and others safe. This can be at point of induction but should also be refreshed periodically or where there are changes.

New employees and visitors should be supervised to ensure their safety, until they can prove their understanding and competence to work in these areas.

All employees, but especially team leaders and supervisors, can play a part to ensure the safety of their sites by raising safety concerns with management, or challenging drivers and pedestrians if they witness unsafe behaviour. If you see something which doesn’t look safe, say something.

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