Construction Safety Week 2019 – Day 4: Vehicle Risk & Safety in Lifting Operations

Thursday, 24th October – Vehicle Risk & Safety in Lifting Operations

The hazards and associated liabilities of employees driving for work pose many issues, which are exacerbated through speeding or a loss of attention caused by driver distraction, fatigue or other influence (eg, intoxicants).

The HSA identifies the primary risks for fatality and injury as follows:

Construction Safety Week

Main Causes of Fatalities

  • People being struck by vehicles
  • Work-related road collisions
  • People falling from vehicles
  • Vehicle impact and overturning
  • Loads falling from vehicles.
  • Main Causes of Injury

    • People struck by vehicles
    • Physical strain
    • Slips, trips and falls
    • Items falling onto people.

    According to statistics shared by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), there were 139 fatal collisions and 146 fatalities on Irish roads during 2018. The ‘Provisional Review of Fatal Collisions’ undertaken by the RSA in 2018 demonstrates a progressively decreasing number of fatalities on roads in the Republic of Ireland. In 2017, there were 143 fatal road collisions that led to 158 fatalities; in comparison with the preceding year (2016), this represented a reduction of 18% in the number of fatal collisions and 15% fewer fatalities.

    According to the HSA, an average of 20 people are killed at Irish workplaces each year following interactions with vehicles. The law requires that pedestrians and vehicles must co-exist safely both in indoor and outdoor places of work.

    Where vehicles are operating, the vulnerable group may be co-workers, visitors or members of the public. To protect pedestrians, vehicle travel routes should be clearly delineated, with enough clearance space between persons and vehicles.

    The HSA highlights that employers or a person in control of a workplace must carry out a documented risk assessment of workplace transport hazards, to include an evaluation and assessment of vehicles and mobile work equipment in use in the workplace.

    According to the European Commission Transportation Department, “It has been estimated that up to 25% of accidents involving trucks can be attributable to inadequate cargo securing”. Cargo that is improperly secured can cause severe accidents, which may lead to the loss of lives, the loss of vehicles, the loss of cargo, or cause environmental damage. Cargo must be placed on the vehicle so that it can neither endanger persons nor goods and cannot move on or off the vehicle. During transport, all cargo items should be prevented from sliding, tipping, rolling, wandering, or substantial deformation and rotation in any direction by methods such as locking, blocking (local/overall), direct lashing and top-over lashing, or combinations of these methods.

    All parties involved in the logistics process, including packers, loaders, transport companies, operators and drivers, have a role to play in ensuring that cargo is properly packed and loaded on a suitable vehicle.

    Three key duty holders for loading and unloading of goods:

    1. The supplier sending the goods
    2. The carrier – the haulier or other company carrying the goods
    3. The recipient – the person receiving the goods.

    CIF members are reporting an increased number of issues arising from lifting with cranes, whether lorry loader or mobile cranes. Mobile cranes must be thoroughly examined by a competent person every 12 months, with a documented report of thorough examination generated. Any lifting equipment or lifting accessory (eg, grapples, grabs, slings, chains) must be thoroughly examined every six months and clearly marked with a safe working load (except for ropes and rope slings). Equipment must be examined and tested following any alteration or repair prior to use.

    The slinger/signaller plays an essential role in attaching loads and directing lifting appliances; consequently, they must possess commensurate knowledge and skills to ensure lifting operations are undertaken safely at work.

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