7. Transport hazards

Even if they are not doing any hazardous work, people can come to harm simply by walking around a site or building. This is especially the case where vehicles are also moving around.

Reference – ‘Workplace transport safety – an overview’ available free at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg199.pdf

Reference – ‘Workplace transport safety – an employers’ guide’ available free at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg136.pdf

Vehicles on site

Vehicles can cause harm by:

  • Colliding with people;
  • Colliding with structures and equipment;
  • Overturning;
  • Emitting fumes;
  • Creating noise;
  • Acting as an ignition source.

It is not only the occupants of vehicles (drivers and passengers) that may be affected. Other people in the vicinity either involved in the task, working nearby or simply walking past may be at risk.

Vehicle movement risk factors

There are certain aspects that affect the risk associated with vehicle movements on a site. They include:

  • Type of vehicle (especially size including weight, height and width);
  • What the vehicles are used for;
  • Manoeuvring (especially reversing);
  • Speed;
  • Road layout (including one or two way traffic);
  • Road surface;
  • Gradient;
  • Lighting;
  • Vehicle maintenance;
  • Weather (especially snow and ice).

Controlling risks of vehicle movements

The first question to ask is whether vehicles can be restricted from some or all of the site. Where vehicles are required on site, the things to consider include:

Site layout

  • Arranging the site so that reversing and other manoeuvres are not required;
  • One way systems;
  • Segregating vehicles and pedestrians (physically where possible, and with lines and signs in other cases);
  • Barriers to prevent access should be locked open or closed so they do not cause a hazard of swinging into the path of vehicles or pedestrians;
  • Provision of suitable parking areas;
  • Maintenance of road surfaces, signs etc.


  • Visibility;
  • Mirrors;
  • Use of on-board CCTV when manoeuvring;
  • Suitability for job;
  • Suitability for (flammable) hazardous areas;
  • Maintenance.


  • Training for driving the vehicle;
  • General defensive training (e.g. safe speed, no hard braking);
  • Training in site rules;
  • Health and fitness (including sight, hearing);
  • Rest breaks.


  • Pedestrians to wear high visibility (hi-vis) clothing;
  • Training pedestrians (e.g. covering vehicle hazards in induction).

Policy and procedures

  • Setting speed limits and parking rules, and enforcing them;
  • Restricting movements of large vehicles, including use of escorts/banks men (trained to direct drivers using hand signals or other means);
  • Dealing with adverse weather (e.g. snow and ice);
  • Drugs and alcohol;
  • Access of vehicles to hazardous areas (permit to work).

Vehicle loading and unloading

Loading and unloading of vehicles potentially introduces extra hazards and risks. Issues to consider include:

  • People falling off of vehicles (e.g. when climbing on to attach loads);
  • Vehicles being over loaded;
  • Vehicles overturning if loaded on soft or unstable ground;
  • Keeping people away from the area whilst being loaded/unloaded;
  • Loss of containment of material being loaded or unloaded (especially toxic or flammable liquids and gases).

Loads need to be stowed and secured to prevent movement whilst being transported. The way loads are distributed in a vehicle can affect stability, and it is important to consider how this will change on a journey if there are multiple pickups and/or drop offs. Particular attention is required for hazardous materials, including the need to segregate incompatible chemicals/products.

Reference – ‘Load securing: vehicle operator guidance’ available free at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/load-securing-vehicle-operator-guidance/load-securing-vehicle-operator-guidance

Also, ‘Load security’ available free at https://www.hse.gov.uk/logistics/load-security.htm

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