UK: HSE Launches Prevent Falls from Vehicles Campaign

Feb. 3, 2009
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has relaunched a campaign that warns about the dangers of falls from vehicles. The campaign will highlight the many cost effective ways that exist to stop these falls from occurring.

Falls from vehicles are the second most common vehicle-related accidents in the workplace. Last year, more than 1,600 workers were injured and four workers were killed by falling from vehicles. Falls involving workplace transportation is a major cause of injuries and costs UK businesses over £35 million (approximately $US 50 million) each year.

“We are running this campaign to raise awareness and to help to stop these needless and sometimes tragic injuries,” said Marcia Davies, HSE director of Injuries Reduction. “Falls from vehicles even from a relatively low height, can cause severe and life-changing injury and most are easily preventable.”

She said that EHS professionals or supervisors who are responsible for managing and planning work with and on vehicles should try to minimize the extent to which tasks have to be carried out at height as one obvious way to prevent falls. “There are often easy alternative ways of working to eliminate the need to climb to a height,” added Davies. “Also, it is vital that when new vehicles are purchased or rented [that] buyers look for design features that make access safer and think whether working at height can be avoided by ordering equipment with ground based controls.”

The campaign primarily is focusing on decision-makers who decide which types of vehicles are used and the way they are used, rather than the employees using them.

“This is because so many injuries are caused by poor vehicle design and inadequate delivery arrangements,” said Davies. “There are simple cost effective solutions that businesses can take to manage and drastically reduce the risk of falling from vehicles.”

When companies are investing in new fleet vehicle buyers should require basic safe design features. HSE advises that the specification for new vehicles should include safety steps, handrails/hand holds and slip-resistant floors.

DVDs of campaign material are available from HSE Books at http://www.hsebooks.com/Books/default.asp.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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