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HSE re-launches falls from vehicles campaign

LAST week saw the re-launch of a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) campaign warning about the dangers of falls from vehicles. This type of incident involving workplace transport is a major cause of injuries and costs UK industry as a whole over £35 million each year.

With more than 1,600 workers injured and four killed in falls from vehicles in 2008, the new campaign aims to highlight various cost-effective ways to stop these falls happening.

According to the HSE, falls from vehicles are the second most common vehicle-related accidents in the workplace, so it is essential that everyone responsible for working with transport is aware of the risks and the consequences of falling from these sorts of heights, and the need for precautions.

Marcia Davies, HSE director of injuries reduction, said: ‘We are running this campaign to raise awareness and to help to stop these needless and sometimes tragic injuries. Falls from vehicles, even from a relatively low height, can cause severe and life-changing injury and most are easily preventable.

‘Those responsible for managing and planning work with, and on, vehicles should try to minimize the extent to which tasks have to be carried out at height as one obvious way to prevent falls. There are often easy alternative ways of working to eliminate the need to climb to a height.’

The latest campaign is focusing primarily on those who decide what type of vehicles are used and the way they are used, rather than the people using them. The HSE advises that when vehicle buyers are investing in new fleet, basic safe design specifications should include safety steps, handrails/hand holds and slip-resistant floors.

‘It is vital that when new vehicles are purchased or rented, buyers look for design features that make access safer and think whether working at height can be avoided by ordering equipment with ground-based controls,’ said Ms Davies.

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