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Five essential health and safety tips for the Haulage industry

HGVs are big, heavy, vehicles with lots of moving parts and as such they need to be treated with great respect as they have the potential to cause serious accidents (including fatal ones).  Fortunately, paying suitable attention to health and safety can go a long way to avoiding this.

Here are five tips to keep in mind.

Ensure that both vehicles and drivers are in good condition

Vehicles need to be inspected regularly and any necessary work carried out promptly. Once a year (at least), they should be given an annual safety inspection, which should literally cover every part of the vehicle, top to bottom.

Drivers should be supported to take care of their own health and, in particular, management needs to make it very clear that the company not only supports them taking their designated rest breaks but also supports those taking additional breaks if they feel they need it.

Even though profit margins are notoriously tight in the haulage industry, safety must always come first.

Aim to keep pedestrians (and cyclists) away from the vehicle

When a vehicle is on site, then rules can be established about where people should and should not walk. When a vehicle is off site, then visible markings can help to make the vehicle stand out and encourage pedestrians (and cyclists) to think of their own safety and avoid “taking chances” the way they might be tempted to do with cars (which have a much shorter stopping distance).

Have solid protocols for safe delivery/receipt

When goods are being delivered/received, there will be a need for some people to be in and/or near the vehicle, however, these people should be kept to a minimum and clear rules should be established for where they do and do not walk.

When considering what protocols to put in place, remember to think about different weather conditions and how they may impact the work. In particular, how will safety be ensured when the ground is wet or frozen and therefore slippery.

Minimise reversing

In an ideal world, HGVs would never reverse. In the real world, however, it’s highly unlikely that drivers are going to be able to avoid it completely.

They should, however, be trained to see reversing as their last option, only to be used if absolutely necessary, rather than as the default option. They will also need to be supported in this since it takes time to turn a large vehicle such as an HGV and time is money in any business.

Train and support drivers in the correct use of brakes

Even if a spirit level shows that the ground is completely level, brakes should still always be used whenever an HGV is parked.

Freak accidents, by definition, are highly unusual, but they can happen, which is why safety protocols should always be followed regardless of whether or not there is an obvious need for them. Rather than relying on a driver’s memory, it may be helpful to install “spoken word” reminders.


Author Bio

This article was contributed by Nottingham Driving School who provide a variety of driver training courses across Nottingham, Derby and Lincoln for HGV/LGV, First Aid, Forklift, Cherry Pickers and more.

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