Top Tips For Avoiding a Fall From a Vehicle

Top Tips For Avoiding a Fall From a Vehicle

25th June 2015

There are more than three million people in the UK who work on or near vehicles every day as part of their jobs.  With logistics and freight companies loading and unloading heavy packages on a daily basis, accidents and injuries are fairly common.  While many people would think that regularly working on loading and unloading vehicles does not involve work at height, nothing could be further from the truth.  If there is work being carried out at any height where somebody could fall a distance likely to cause personal injury, a range of precautions must be taken in order to avoid risks. 

The majority of the injuries that are reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) involve falls from vehicles below head height – you don’t have to fall very far to land hard and do serious damage to yourself.  This means that it’s vital that the risks are minimised whenever possible.  The HSE has published a hierarchy of controls that can minimise the risk of a fall and these are as follows:

  • Plan to avoid working at height whenever possible.
  • If working at height cannot be avoided, then vehicle-based or on-site systems should be put in place in order to minimise the risk of a fall.

In cases where the risk of a fall cannot be eliminated then it’s vital that work equipment is used that will minimise the distance and consequences of a fall.  This means that measures need to be considered that will protect everybody who is likely to be at risk (e.g. platforms and guardrails) as well as measures that will protect the individual carrying out the work (e.g. a safety harness).

In order to minimise the risk at height from vehicles, there are further measures that should be taken:

  • Avoid the need to climb onto trailers wherever possible.
  • Where access is still required, provide steps and handholds.
  • When buying new vehicles, be on the lookout for integral safety features that would make loading and unloading safer.
  • Experiment with a range of different footwear to determine which type provides the most slip resistance for the environment in which employees will be working.
  • Never allow anybody to jump from the cab or a truck or a trailer.

Ladders or steps may represent the easies access solution to help workers to get into and out of vehicles safely and more easily.  When using steps or ladders for vehicle access, it’s essential that they are well built, properly maintained, securely fitted and used in the correct manner at all times.  Any ladders or steps should slope inwards.  Suspended steps should be avoided and ladders made from chains should never be used.  Where rungs or steps are fitted to the vehicle itself, they should be level, comfortable to use, have a non-slip surface and should be checked regularly to prevent the build-up of mud, grease or oil.

Here at Safety Fabrications, we offer bespoke solutions for our customers to ensure that they can choose the correct type of access equipment for the task at hand.  If you’re looking for a vehicle access ladder that will suit your needs, why not get in touch with our expert design team to see how we can make things safer for your employees?