Health & Safety in the Transport Workplace

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a general duty on all employers to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees. This includes:

Employers also have a similar general duty towards persons not in their employment who may be affected by what they do. Employees also have duties under this Act to take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and of others who may be affected by their acts and omissions at work. Employees must also co-operate with their employer so far as is necessary to enable any statutory duties to be complied with.
These general duties apply to all employers and employees regardless of the size or type of business they are involved in.

Workplace Management
In addition to these general duties made under the Health and Safety at Work act there are a whole range of regulations that make these general duties more specific. The most important regulations that apply to all employers is the Management of Health and Safety at work regulations which were introduced to place very specific duties on employers to actively manage Health and Safety.
In particular there is a requirement for every employer to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of:

Risk assessment is the cornerstone of effective management of Health and Safety in all circumstances. In relation to transport it is vital that all activities have been adequately assessed and control measures put in place to reduce the identified risks.
Failure to comply with the duties laid down in the Health and Safety at Work Act and/or any specific regulation made under it can give rise to unlimited fines and/or a prison sentence.

Workplace Transport
Workplace transport is responsible for a considerable number of accidents every year. Over the last 5 years there has been a higher rate of accidents within the road haulage and distribution sector than in construction. In addition there are considerable numbers of employees suffering short or long term ill health, therefore controlling Health and Safety risks in the transport sector is vital in order to reduce these numbers.

The main kinds of risks that need to be considered are

In addition consideration needs to be given to driver competency and training, housekeeping of warehouses and unloading/loading areas as well as maintenance of vehicles.

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