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Smart Workplace Safety Tips: Working With Lorries

Safety in the workplace should always be a priority – particularly when you work in an environment with HGVs. Don’t put yourself at risk, follow these top tips.

Let’s talk about safety. While I won’t scare you with awful statistics about lorry-related accidents, I will stress the importance of safety in the workplace. When working in an environment with multiple lorries, you put yourself at risk and, unfortunately, accidents can happen. To keep you and your colleagues out of harm’s way, follow these simple guidelines.

Distancing Workflow and Loading Docks from Pedestrians

  • Separate routes

How do you minimise the risk of there being an accident? Ideally, you segregate all transport vehicles and pedestrian areas by having two separate routes (one for pedestrians and one for vehicles). If this isn’t possible, clearly delineate a passage for pedestrians with barriers, signposts and markings on the ground.

  • Separate entrances and exits

Having separate entrance and exit points for vehicles and pedestrians will also improve safety in the workplace. I’d also recommend fitting vision panels on the doors of vehicles which open into the traffic.

Principles of Good Practice for Delivering and Receiving Goods

  • Plan ahead

If you come up with a safety plan before a delivery or collection takes place, you can take all the necessary precautions. You can check that the site will be able to handle both the load and the vehicle carrying it, while also keeping pedestrians away from the designated area at the time of delivery/collection.

  • Incorporate safety arrangement in the order

Agreeing on the delivery arrangements with the parties involved will reduce confusion upon arrival. When you decide in advance on what precautions to take, the delivery or pick-up process will run much more smoothly.

Tactics to Minimise Reversing

  • One-way systems

Reversing is a definite threat to safety in the workplace. To avoid hurting anyone or damaging property, vehicles and equipment, try creating a one-way system. That way, you’ll eliminate the need to reverse.

  • What if reversing is unavoidable?

You’re probably thinking that reversing is sometimes necessary – and you’d be right! In this case, the ideal solution is to have a signaller clear the area and guide the driver. Otherwise, creating a designated reversing area and fitting the vehicle with warning equipment will also do the trick. Flashing beacons and alarms will warn pedestrians that a vehicle is reversing, while proximity-sensing devices can help to guide the driver.

Training Drivers to Apply the Handbrake

  • Use both the vehicle and trailer handbrakes

Drivers have a bad habit of leaving their vehicle without securing the handbrake because they think that the ground is flat. Such assumptions can be detrimental to safety in the workplace. If a vehicle rolls back, it can severely injure someone (and you wouldn’t want that on your conscience!). When training new drivers, be sure to emphasise the importance of applying both the vehicle and the trailer’s brakes when parking.

  • Spoken word handbrakes

‘Spoken word’ handbrake warning devices can also be a helpful feature. An alarm will go off when drivers open their doors without putting the handbrake on.

When it comes to safety in the workplace, don’t compromise. Stay alert, be aware of your surroundings and help avoid accidents!

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Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides a valuable service providing information on issues affecting safety in the workplace and other news from the industry. Matching delivery work with available vehicles, over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.

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