Having large vehicles operating on site can present a risk to pedestrians. It’s vital for all workers to know about the differences inherent in larger vehicles, such as reduced manoeuvrability and visibility, so that they are aware of the dangers and the importance of the control measures.
10 Top Tips for Safe Work around Large Vehicles
- Consider all vehicle movements and assess what control measures are needed, such as pedestrian segregation by barriers or other structures.
- Include the other work activities happening in the vicinity within your risk assessment, in case other workers could come into contact with moving vehicles.
- Ensure drivers are licenced, trained and competent to drive the size of vehicle intended for them.
- Manage visiting drivers by informing them of the site rules, speed limits, one way systems and the need to limit reversing operations.
- Drivers to check that nothing is obscuring their view when they enter their cab – this might include grills and also things inside the cab such as soft toys, sat nav and paperwork. The windscreen and all mirrors should be kept clean.
- Check that external mirrors provide all-round vision, with a view to eliminating any blind spots.
- Consider whether CCTV could be used within the vehicle – but do make sure that the camera lenses are kept clean, and remind drivers to allow adjustment time where changes in the light occur.
- Ensure all workers in the vicinity of vehicles wear high-visibility clothing to make them easier to see.
- If possible, reduce vehicle traffic at peak times such as lunch time or shift changes.
- Regularly review accident and near miss data to spot any trends that show potential weak spots in your control measures.
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Falls from height are the biggest cause of death and serious injury – so make sure you pick the right equipment for the job at all times. Look after your ladders, and in turn they will look after you.
5 Top Tips for Safe Ladder Work
- Undertake a thorough risk assessment of the job before you start to check that the equipment you have selected is suitable. If used properly, ladders are a good option for low-risk, short-duration work of up to 30 minutes.
- Make sure that workers have had training on using ladders properly. They should know how to do pre-use checks, how to set the ladder up to make it safe and secure, and the ground conditions that are needed to prevent the ladder slipping. Ladders shouldn’t be placed on wet floor, mats or uneven ground.
- Label every ladder you own so that you can identify it belongs to you. Each ladder should be logged on a register, and visually inspected on a frequent basis. Check that rungs are not missing or damaged, and that rubber feet are in place. Record any defects and take ladders out of use until they are repaired, or throw them away if they can’t be fixed.
- Workers should be aware of the correct positioning to adopt when using a ladder. Look for three points of contact at all times and give staff tool belts to wear so that they can use their hands for holding on rather than carrying tools.
- Store ladders correctly so that they can’t fall over. Hang them up on racking or hooks, away from chemicals. Make sure that wooden ladders are kept away from water and damp to prevent them from rotting.
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More often than not, if a manual handling task goes wrong, it is most likely to be due to poor planning and a lack of consideration of the different components that make up the task as a whole. When there are additional hazards involved, such as the potential to fall from height, the consequences can be even more severe. Make sure you plan your lifts properly!
- Take proper time to plan the task. All manual handling activities should be subject to a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. Where possible, avoid the need for people to move heavy items, but if that is not possible, aim to reduce the risk of injury in doing so. Could a mechanical aid such a hoist be used instead? Can handles be fitted to the load for better grip?
- Look at the load. If it’s heavy or unstable, can it be broken up to make it more manageable? Can the distance to move it be reduced? Remember that manual handling doesn’t just include lifting a moveable object – it also covers actions such as pulling, pushing and lowering of loads. Ensure that all the elements of the lift are taken into account.
- Consider the location where the lift will take place. Is the lighting sufficient? Are there any trip or slip hazards? Work out if there is anything else, other than the load, which could cause a problem in the local environment – such as fragile surfaces or falls from height.
- Take into account the human factors of those involved. What are their likely capabilities? Have they got the necessary experience and knowledge? Are they worried about time pressures and ‘just getting the job done’?
- Employees have a duty to follow instructions and safe systems of work. Make sure they’ve been given the correct training and information in order to do the job.
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Fork lift trucks (FLTs) are flexible, useful pieces of work equipment that help with the lifting and transportation of goods, but they are often misused and people try to cut corners with them – either by speeding, overloading them or allowing them to be operated when damaged.
10 Top Tips for the Safe Use of Fork Lift Trucks
- Keep FLTs and pedestrians separate, by having clearly defined segregated routes for both. Always choose a physical barrier over just a marked walkway where possible, and ensure these are regularly checked for damage and wear and tear.
- Ensure that all FLT activities are fully risk assessed, and implement control measures to reduce the risk of people being harmed.
- Give workers a way of reporting bad habits and practices in a blame-free environment, perhaps via health and safety representatives if they are worried.
- Implement speed limits and limit reversing where possible.
- Always ensure there is good lighting and visibility. Remove blind corners and keep flooring in a good condition and free from obstacles.
- Make sure all the safety features on the FLT are used and are working – this includes reversing lights and alarms, mirrors, and seatbelts. Introduce pre-use checks – it’s a good idea to have a written checklist for users to complete. Any defects should be reported and the equipment taken out of use until rectified.
- Ensure operators have the necessary training for the type of FLT they will be using, which also includes the types of activities undertaken. Organise refresher training at suitable intervals for all operatives.
- Remove the keys when not in use to prevent un-authorised access.
- Ensure that FLTs owned or operated by you are under a scheme of thorough examination by a competent person – often this is done by the insurance company.
- Do make sure you know what the maximum weight limits are for each FLT you use, in conjunction with the height and load centre.
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