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Core considerations

HSE and local authority statistics show that nearly 60 trade and distribution employees have been killed and 5000 seriously injured in the last five years. The health and safety consideration issues that should be considered by those operating in this sector are wide ranging.

Your clients should review the following key areas.

Driver vetting and training
Drivers should be clear of what is expected of them before driving a company vehicle. Effective driver vetting, induction and training will ensure this.
Driver vetting procedures need to ensure that drivers hold the correct licence for the vehicle they are to drive.
A driver's handbook can be provided to outline policies in relation to mobile phone usage, vehicle maintenance, what the company vehicle can be used for and by whom and what to do in the case of an emergency.
Personal and vehicle security
The provision of better locks, alarms and immobilisers by manufacturers has greatly improved vehicle security. As vehicles have become harder to steal, car jacking and key theft have become more common place. Keeping vehicles locked whilst driving helps minimise the risk of vehicle jacking. When vehicles are not in use keys should be kept safe; for example in a lockable cabinet.
Workplace vehicle movement
The movement of vehicles in a workplace poses a danger. It is important that vehicles and pedestrians are kept separate wherever possible. Clear signage should be used to advise members of the public the safe way to move around premises.
Fork lift trucks
If fork lift trucks are used to load vehicles, the drivers must be trained, certified and regularly monitored. The fork lift trucks themselves must be effectively maintained.
Falls risks
There is a very real risk of falls from vehicles and it is important that measures are in place to minimise this. In the case of Lorries, can sheeting operations be carried out with as little climbing as possible and are vehicle access steps in good condition?
Safe loading
Has the need for manual handling been minimised and training provided where it cannot be avoided. Are there systems in place to check if loads have shifted in transit and to deal with same?
Motor vehicle repair workshops
Every year 2000 accidents in vehicle workshops are reported to the HSE/Local authority. Most accidents involve slips, trips and falls or poor methods of manual handling. There is also widespread potential for work related ill health problems due to the hazardous substances used which require careful storage, handling and control. The specialist equipment found in motor vehicle repair workshops (lifting equipment, compressed air equipment and electrical equipment such as battery chargers) should all be maintained and training given before use.
In relation to marine risks, it's important that vessels are used in accordance with their classification. Measures should be in place to ensure that all crew are competent. An increasing risk is the threat of piracy in certain parts of the world. Where avoiding these dangerous routes is unavoidable properly training and equipping vessels and their crews is key.

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