The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) began a nationwide work-related vehicle safety inspection and information campaign on 23 May. The campaign will last two weeks and will focus on four key sectors: Transport and Logistics; Wholesale and Retail; Waste and Recycling and Manufacturing.

The purpose of the campaign is to make sure that employers are aware of their legal responsibilities for managing vehicle risks, and to help them reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring.

Over the last six years, just under half (45%) of all workplace fatalities have involved vehicles. In the same period nearly one in five (18%) of all non-fatal accidents were vehicle related.

An analysis of HSA accident statistics indicates that the majority of these fatalities occurred during the manoeuvring, reversing or coupling and uncoupling of vehicles. Non-fatal injuries generally occurred during the manual handling of loads or as the result of falls from vehicles.

Deirdre Sinnott, Senior Inspector with the HSA says that the risks can be reduced by focusing on four key areas.

“Firstly, employers should have a vehicle risk management policy that covers all vehicle related activities in the workplace.  This includes not only vehicles operated by employees but also those visiting that need to be managed and controlled. It is also important that procedures are in place to eliminate and control known risks associated with:  driving for work, loading and unloading, deliveries and collections, parking, reversing and manoeuvring. Then safety information, instruction and training should be provided for all employees and finally, a method to record and learn from all incidents or near misses and take corrective action where necessary.”

There are free short on-line courses, aimed at helping employers to manage work related vehicle safety, on the HSA e-learning portal http://hsalearning.ie

Also, freely available guidance and resources can be found on the HSA website www.hsa.ie.