According to the Irish Health & Safety Authority (HSA), almost half (45%) of all reported work-related fatalities over the last six years involved vehicles. In 2018, 18 people in Ireland were killed in vehicle-related incidents at work. In a campaign statement in February 2019, the HSA advised that 'the majority of vehicle-related deaths at work occurred during low speed manoeuvring, reversing or coupling and uncoupling of vehicles. It is vital that procedures are developed and put in place to eliminate and control known risks associated with workplace vehicles. Once these written procedures are in place they should be communicated to all employees, contractors and visiting drivers in the workplace'.
What are your legal requirements?
Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 there is a legal requirement on employers to identify the hazards in the place of work under their control, assess the risk presented by these hazards and retain written assessments of these risks.
Part 2 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 requires employers to ensure that there is sufficient clearance between pedestrians and vehicles to enable them to move in a safe manner. Where there is interaction between vehicles and pedestrians, routes should be clearly identified, appropriately sized and safe to access. In areas identified as presenting a high level of risk, further measures may be required.
Risk assessment & gap analysis
As part of a risk assessment, transport hazards should be identified, assessed and controlled. The HSA advises that risks associated with workplace transport be assessed under three main headings:
- Safe workplace: is the layout (e.g. traffic routes and control, pedestrian crossings, access, lighting, signage and housekeeping) appropriate for the traffic-related activities (e.g. reversing operations, coupling and uncoupling, loading and unloading) that take place at the site?
- Safe vehicle: are the workplace vehicles appropriate for the task they are used for, taking into consideration the environment, the people who use the vehicle and the maintenance regime?
- Safe driver: are vehicle operators adequately trained, responsible and reasonably fit?
For sites with existing risk assessments, a gap analysis can help with identifying additional controls that are required so that good practice standards are adopted/maintained at the site. However, many workplaces in Ireland don’t have these assessments in place: the HSA published results from a nationwide inspection of workplaces in its 2018 annual report, which highlighted that only 55% of workplaces had an appropriate risk assessment in place.
Traffic management plan
The purpose of a traffic management plan (TMP) is to document how the employer will manage traffic risks associated with pedestrian, plant and vehicular traffic in the workplace. At a minimum, the TMP should include the risk assessment and refer to the physical and administrative controls for managing these risks. The TMP should also set out the following:
- The role of stakeholders in implementing, monitoring and reviewing the traffic management plan. Such stakeholders include staff, visitors, contractors and members of the public.
- Systems for reporting traffic accidents and vehicle defects.
A site map should be prepared which identifies the traffic routes for vehicles and pedestrians across the workplace.
At Byrne Ó Cléirigh we have extensive experience in undertaking risk analyses, including traffic-related risk assessments, for clients across diverse sectors.