The Health & Safety Executive has issued a safety notice on the use of wheeled loading shovels, following nine people being run over in the last four years. Six of these incidents have occurred in the waste and recycling sector, with the remainder involved in wood chip.
Some were due to poor forward visibility, largely caused by larger capacity buckets being fitted to some vehicles. Other incidents were due to reversing.
HSE has issues to notice in order to remind dutyholders and users of the machines of the need to properly assess and manage collision risks with pedestrians.
Wheeled loading machinery is used largely in the waste and recycling sector. In recent years, it’s become common practice to fit larger capacity buckets when moving lighter material, allowing more to be carried with each load.
However, forward visibility can be seriously impacted for drivers when larger capacity buckets are fitted, causing blind spots and reducing a driver’s ability to see pedestrians and, to a lesser extent, other vehicles.
Some manufacturers add ‘visibility slots’ or mesh to the top of a bucket to mitigate the problem, but these have been found to be ineffective in practice.
Regulation 4 of The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) requires machinery to be suitable for the purpose it’s used for. This also applied to adapted or modified equipment, e.g. larger buckets.
Before using wheeled loaders (or making changes to them), you should review your workplace transport risk assessments to make sure they’re safe to use in your workplace and in the way that you use them.
You should consider:
If you’d like further details on the HSE’s safety notice, you can read more here.
If you’ve got any questions about how this safety alert might affect your business, or you’d like some support risk assessing your site, vehicle safety and driver safety, you can call our team of Health & Safety experts 24/7 on 0345 844 4848.