When it comes to workplace machinery, the incidents that can arise from poor safety processes are often serious in terms of cost and the potential threat to life. The use of vehicles in businesses are a leading cause of major fatal accidents and injuries in part due to the human error that their operation is often susceptible to. Ensuring the safe use of vehicles in the workplace is therefore high on the list of priorities for many EHS professionals.
Best practice for ensuring good driver safety in your workplace
Fostering food driver safety is a multifaceted approach. The vehicle can be perfect in terms of its performance on safety tests however if the driver operating it is not functioning in the right mindset there are few mechanical changes that can be made to prevent an incident. With that in mind, a best practice put forward by the HSE Executive encourages focus on 3 areas, site safety, vehicle safety and driver safety.
1. Site safety
Site safety focuses on the environment around the vehicle and the driver. A Simple step to improving this area of the equation is to ensure the process for storing the vehicle considers the safety of the individual and that, vehicles, as much as is possible, can be kept away from individuals in their operation.
The designated areas that vehicles operate in should also be made clear to individuals within the workplace. This will help to separate vehicles and workers which will contribute to a long term reduction in incidents.
2. Vehicle safety
The structural safety of the actual vehicle is crucial to ensuring the whole process is as safe as it can be. Getting the vehicle inspection, maintenance and repairs right will give your drivers peace of mind and ensure good EHS compliance.
When inspecting a vehicle, look closely at the brakes, steering, tyres, mirrors, warning devices, and any moving parts that could cause injury. If these and the other parts of the vehicle are well maintained it will help to ensure better driver safety.
3. Driver safety
Ensuring the vehicle and the environment around it are well maintained and safe will only get you so far when it comes to preventing serious incidents. The driver of the vehicle is crucial when it comes to good overall driver safety. Try to have clear and measurable rules around operating the vehicle.
Finding ways to correct the behavioural safety of your drivers through frequent work reflections and well-placed controls will ensure the performance of your driver safety is increased which will reduce the total number of incidents and your insurance premiums.
Some of the ‘quick wins’ that you can get in human performance are around the ergonomics of the vehicle. If drivers are comfortable they will be better able to focus on the task in hand.
What kinds of incidents are RIDDOR reportable for driver safety?
Whilst as an organisation you should endeavour to safeguard the safety of your drivers and those around vehicles in your workplace if an incident does take place it is important to follow the correct procedure in terms of the reporting of the incident.
An example of a RIDDOR reportable vehicle incident would be if a forklift driver reversed into another worker within the workplace. However, a standard traffic collision that happened externally from a workplace would normally not warrant a full RIDDOR report and should instead be reported to the police.
Next steps to improve the driver safety of your employees
Once you have taken the basic steps towards providing a safe workplace for your drivers you should look at ways that you can improve the behavioural safety of your drivers and employees. This can be done through training and the fostering of long term and positive safety behaviours like awareness of speed, the wearing of the correct high-vis equipment and the wearing of seatbelts.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also crucial to remind your at-work drivers about how they can keep safe.