Controlling vehicle movements has been a hot topic for many, many years. I remember seeing a HSE publication in the mid-90s called ’10 years of Death’ that outlined 81 fatalities in the industry between 1984 and 1994. The front cover showed a rigid dumper buried in a quarry face after the brakes had failed. I can’t remember the exact numbers, but about 60% of the incidents involved mobile plant.
Things have come on enormously with great initiatives like ‘Safety by Design’ trying to get the manufacturers to improve vehicle specifications and the Quarries Regulations guidance on edge protection being so visual. However, recent events have shown that we still get it wrong. Vehicles have gone over faces; people have been crushed by moving vehicles. I did a piece on edge protection a few months ago so this month I want to focus on some basics.
Below are some things to consider when managing traffic movements on site; I have split the advice into four areas:
- The people
- The equipment
- The task
- The environment.
Let’s take them in order:
The people (whether on foot or in vehicles people have the biggest impact on safety)
- Ensure that only trained and competent drivers operate vehicles.
- Ensure they have received, and confirmed that they understand, any specific rules that should have been issued to them.
- Ensure that any non-English-speaking drivers employed have the rules communicated to them.
- Ensure all persons entering the work area are inducted and are wearing hi-viz clothing.
- Ban the use of mobile phones or establish safe havens for phone use.
- Ensure that a suitable inspection regime is in place to maintain the vehicles.
- Ensure the vehicles are fitted with the correct operating and security features (ie wipers, seatbelts, horns, reversing cameras and alarms).
- Make sure drivers carry out daily checks on their vehicles to identify minor faults.
- Ensure that suitable arrangements are in place for allowing vehicles to reverse safely with the aid of a banksman.
- Ensure sensible speed limits are in place.
- Ensure areas are provided for safe sheeting, loading and unloading, and that they are being used.
- Ensure drivers check their loads prior to leaving the site.
- Ensure vehicles and pedestrians are kept safely apart.
- Ensure suitable crossing points for pedestrians are available on vehicle routes. Keep crossing points short and straight. Clearly mark areas you want people to walk from and too. I find building a fence and gate to walk through encourages people to use crossing points.
- Ensure all vehicles can park in a safe location when not in use.
- Introduce a one-way system for traffic and enforce it.
- Make sure the haul roads are wide enough to allow vehicles to pass and the edge protection is high and secure.
- Erect signage at various locations around the site. Keep them clean.
- Speed limits – are they sensible? For me 5mph is unachievable in a lorry, so why not try 9mph or 11mph, it gets people thinking.
- Place fixed mirrors at locations that do not have good visibility.
- Ensure drivers are aware of areas that can present a dust problem in windy conditions.
- Ensure that a plan of the traffic movement is displayed at key points on site.
Hopefully the above will give you some pointers when looking at your traffic management.
It’s an issue that will not go away, so invest time in getting it right.
If you require any further information or help please contact: Colin Nottage; tel: 07799 656303; email: [email protected]