Ed Barnes discusses what site managers can do to minimise the risk of accidents through the use of effective transport management and what new technologies and product advancements exist to support this
The manufacturing sector is made up of a range of diverse industries, with an estimated 29.2 million workers across Europe1.
It includes a vast number of activities and production techniques, from small-scale enterprises using traditional production techniques to very large organisations manufacturing complex products such as cars or aircrafts. Whatever the size of a manufacturing facility, keeping workers safe as they move around the site is an important consideration that can sometimes be overlooked.
Duty of care
All employers have a duty of care to ensure their workplace facilities are safe for employees and visitors. This includes external areas such as car parks, roadways and storage areas. It should be a priority for any business to make sure those working on site have the necessary precautions to protect them against danger.
Failure to maintain a safe working environment could result in citations and penalties. In order to comply with health and safety regulations, regular maintenance and monitoring of facilities is needed.
A manufacturing site must be organised and structured to ensure both vehicles and pedestrians using it can do so safely. Effectively planning your transport operations throughout your site is vital in order to minimise the opportunity for on-site vehicle incidents.
Separating pedestrians and vehicles
In the planning stages, it is important to consider whether there is sufficient separation between pedestrians and site vehicles. Considerations should include separate entry and exits, specific pedestrian walkways, clearly labelled crossings and barriers. Once these are implemented it is important to ensure that these separations are adhered to.
Traffic calming measures
Installing traffic calming measures, such as the Seton Speed Bump, can provide site managers with the reassurance that their site is safer, helping it to be compliant, while ensuring those working and visiting the site are travelling at a suitable speed suitable at all times.
Limited number of vehicles
Limiting the number of vehicles permitted to the site will automatically reduce the number of potential accidents. Offering designated workforce and visitor parking away from the site is one way to achieve this, as well as providing off-site storage areas so that deliveries do not have to use the site.
Site managers should make sure all employees are authorised and able to operate the different vehicles and machinery on site. Part of this is ensuring the relevant training has been completed, and where a gap is identified, training is provided before the worker can operate the vehicle or machinery. Controlling access to vehicles is an important aspect of a site manager’s role.
Install a one-way system
Turning or reversing vehicles are one of the major causes of fatal accidents on manufacturing sites2. As such, site managers should consider implementing a one-way system or turning circle to help minimise or eliminate the danger.
Site managers need to ensure that people on site know and understand the traffic rules and routes. To help achieve this, effective and prominent signage is a must, allowing workers and visitors to see clearly the safest way of navigating and working on site.
Reporting of hazards
A manufacturing site can be a very busy environment, with deliveries coming in, parts being moved around the site, and completed products leaving. Not to mention workers arriving and leaving for different shifts.
With this ever changing environment, hazards can arise at any time. This could be anything from an obstruction, to a patch of ice in cold weather, or surface water after rain. It is vital that managers encourage employees to continually be alert and report any hazards that arise as soon as possible so they can be swiftly dealt with.
Employees are often moving around a site throughout their shift. They must take responsibility for ensuring that they are always compliant with the regulations governing the site and that they do not inadvertently create a hazard.
Blocking an emergency exit without realising, or taking a ‘shortcut’ across a site to save time, are just two examples of ways employ actions can create unnecessary additional danger. To aid employees, site managers should ensure that Safety Awareness posters are clearly visible around their site, to inform employees of all their responsibilities.
What if an accident occurs?
Sometimes accidents are unavoidable, so if a worker sustains an injury, you can make sure you are prepared to handle it in the best way possible. You must provide adequate first aid facilities and make a record of certain accidents, injuries and dangerous occurrences in an ‘accident book’. It is necessary to carry out a risk assessment and decide how many first aiders are needed, as well as what first aid equipment you should have.
Employers are legally obligated to report major injuries, near-miss incidents, such as collapsed scaffolding, to the local authority.
Ed Barnes is Traffic Innovation Manager at workplace health and safety expert and supplier, Seton. If you need to manage safety on your manufacturing site Seton can provide a range of solutions including the new Seton Speed Bump which will help you to encourage responsible driving, benefitting you and your employees.