Workplace Transport Risk Assessment FAQs

Our Workplace Transport Risk Assessment FAQs detail frequently asked questions and tailored answers related to the hazards and risks of workplace transport.

What is the risk of loading and unloading?

There are several common risks when loading/unloading vehicles. The most significant include the risk of falling from height e.g. from loading bays, or tail lifts. This risk can be coupled with falling objects if a load becomes insecure and falls. Being struck by other vehicles is a risk if traffic is not managed appropriately.

Manual handling can pose a significant loading/unloading risk, with workers at risk of developing musculoskeletal injuries if the activity is repetitive, loads are bulky, or mechanical lifting aids are not available.

What are the hazards of workplace transport?

Hazards that threaten the safety of employees and passers-by include:

  • Moving vehicles, especially when reversing.
  • Objects falling from vehicles.
  • Vehicles overturning due to uneven terrain, overloading, or improper operation.
  • People falling from vehicles when loading or unloading.
  • Non-compliance with site rules e.g. speed limits, following designated walkways.

Workplace transport risk assessments, robust safety procedures, appropriate safety equipment, training and monitoring are crucial for minimising risks.

What is an example of a transport risk?

Most workplace transport accidents happen because vehicles and pedestrians aren’t properly separated.

If pedestrians and vehicles must interact then the ideal separation control is a physical barrier, although clearly demarcated lines may be sufficient.

In January 2023, Kingsland Drinks was fined £800k when John Fitzpatrick, a 59-year-old from Oldham, was struck and killed by a forklift truck while he waited for his trailer to be loaded.  The court found that, amongst other failures, there was no vehicle and pedestrian segregation in the loading area.

How do you manage transportation risk?

Transportation risks are managed through:

  • Risk assessments. Identify potential hazards such as vehicle movements, pedestrian interactions, loading and unloading areas and the condition of vehicles. Consider weather conditions and traffic variations. Determine what measures are required to reduce the risk.
  • Safety measures and . Once risks are identified, implement safety measures and procedures. This may include traffic management plans, designated pedestrian walkways, and speed limits. Provide training for vehicle operators and encourage the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Continuous monitoring and improvement. No system is effective without checking it is operating as expected. Encourage a culture of safety where employees report near misses, incidents or potential hazards. Identify root causes and implement corrective actions. Regularly review protocols to address changing or emerging risks and industry best practices.

What is risk in transportation?

Risk in transportation refers to the potential for accidents or incidents during the movement of people, vehicles, or goods. These risks encompass various hazards including vehicle collisions, injuries to drivers or passengers, property damage, cargo loss or damage and harm to pedestrians.

Effective risk management involves identifying and assessing these potential risks, implementing safety measures and protocols and continuously monitoring and mitigating risks.

What should be included in a COSHH risk assessment?

A Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) risk assessment includes the following:

  • Identification of hazardous substances such as chemicals, dusts, gases, fumes, and biological agents.
  • Risk assessments for each hazardous substance detailing exposure levels, duration, and frequency of exposure.
  • Consideration of who may be exposed to the hazardous substance e.g. employees, people in the vicinity of the task being undertaken, vulnerable employees etc.
  • How risks will be controlled. For example, ventilation, containment, training, personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Plans for managing emergencies including spill response, evacuation procedures and first aid.

What is a transport hazard?

Transport hazards depend on the mode of transport, the nature of the cargo and the conditions under which transportation occurs.

Hazards can include:

  • Collisions which can result in injuries, fatalities and damage to vehicles and cargo.
  • Spillages or leaks which can result in exposure to hazardous substances.
  • Fire and explosion hazards when materials are not properly stored, secured, or handled.
  • Overturning vehicles due to improper loading or securing of cargo.
  • Mechanical failures including brakes and tyre blowouts.
  • Human factors such as driver fatigue or distraction.
  • Accidents due to poorly maintained roads or inadequate signage.

What are the risks of moving heavy equipment?

Risks associated with moving heavy equipment include musculoskeletal injuries, crush or pinch injuries, falls, struck-by incidents and equipment malfunctions.

To mitigate risks, employers must first assess the risks and provide employees with comprehensive training, emphasising the importance of proper lifting techniques, and provide mechanical aids like cranes, pump trucks, or forklifts when necessary. Adequate personal protective equipment should be provided, and strict safety protocols enforced.

Work equipment should be subject to a maintenance schedule and inspected to prevent malfunctions and ensure safe operation.

What is a common hazard related to vehicles and mobile plant in the workplace?

One of the most common hazards related to vehicles and mobile plant in the workplace is the risk of accidents from collisions or strikes. Vehicles may collide with each other, with stationary objects or with pedestrians. Collisions and strikes can result in injuries, fatalities, and damage to vehicle and property.

Inadequate visibility, excessive speed, lack of training, inadequate traffic management or distracted or tired operators are the most common causes of accidents.