The Health and Safety Authority has started a two-week transport operations and vehicles at work inspection and awareness campaign on Monday, 12 April, concurrently with the 2010-2019 issue of the Work Related Vehicle Deaths report.
The latest edition of the report indicates that there were 490 work-related deaths in Ireland over the ten-year period and of these, 44% (217) involved vehicles. In 2020 alone, 30 people died in vehicle related incidents at work.
The inspection campaign will focus on the management of vehicle risks in the workplace such as driving for work, vehicle operations and load securing. Inspectors will be concentrating on warehousing and storage operations within transport and logistics companies, distribution and warehousing centres and manufacturing premises with a warehousing component.
They will be looking to see that safety management systems, incorporating minimum occupational safety and health control measures, are in place to reduce risks relating to internal and external warehouse traffic management; specific high-risk vehicle activities including goods inwards/outwards, storage operations, loading and unloading and use of forklifts and other motorised and self-propelled handling equipment; racking installation, condition, maintenance and inspection.
According to the HSA report, the most common type of fatal incident involved vehicles striking people on foot, some of which occurred during slow speed manoeuvres and reversing, falls from vehicles and parked vehicles rolling out of control.
Deirdre Sinnott, Senior Inspector with the HSA says that the risks can be reduced by focusing on key areas: “Employers should recognise vehicle incidents as a real threat to their business. They should put in place a Vehicle Risk Management Policy that covers all vehicle related activities in the workplace. This includes not only vehicles operated by employees but also vehicles visiting their premises such as routine deliveries and collections. It is vital that procedures are developed and put in place to eliminate and control known risks. These procedures should be communicated clearly to employees, contractors and visiting drivers in the workplace.”