SAFed Health and Safety Passport Scheme

Module 14 — Workplace Transport Safety

14.1     Introduction

This document forms one of a series of modules on various health and safety subjects that comprise the examinable material considered necessary for the award of the SAFed Health and Safety Passport.

When you have studied this module you should have acquired sufficient knowledge to be able to answer the questions detailed at the end of the module.  Upon satisfactory completion of all modules, you will be eligible to undertake the final assessment for the award of the SAFed Health and Safety Passport.

The SAFed Health and Safety Passport is issued to Engineer Surveyors by the Health and Safety Manager of their employing company upon satisfactory completion of the Safety Passport final assessment.

The award of the SAFed Health and Safety Passport provides evidence that the holder of the Passport has the appropriate knowledge and awareness in health and safety matters considered necessary for an Engineer Surveyor to undertake the duties for which they are authorised by their employing company.

The passport is valid for a maximum of three years.

14.2          Key Objectives

This module is specifically focussed on workplace transport safety with respect to the use of any form of transport that you may be required to drive, inspect, operate or need to be aware of as part of your normal duties.

Having studied this module you should have an awareness of the legal responsibilities of the Engineer Surveyor regarding workplace transport safety within your own company and at any site at which you are working.

14.3     Legal commentary

The following Acts and Regulations provide the legal basis for identifying how workplaces should meet with the health, safety and welfare needs of all members of a workforce.  On clients sites the responsibility for complying with the provisions of the applicable Acts and Regulations becomes a shared responsibility between yourself, your employer and the client.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98).

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Road Traffic Act(s).

In addition there are a large number of relevant Guidance Notes and Approved Codes of Practice (ACoPs) which need to be observed in particular industrial sectors.


14.4     Discussion

The term “Workplace Transport” refers to any vehicle or piece of mobile equipment provided at work, this could range from a mobile crane on a construction site to a lift truck in a warehouses.  A company car is also an item of Workplace Transport.  The range of Workplace Transport can all pose a variety of risks to Engineer Surveyors during the course of their work activities.

Risks include people being struck or run over by moving vehicles in the workplace or being struck by objects falling from the vehicle, or by vehicles overturning.  According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics, about 70 people are killed in workplace transport related accidents every year, while a further 6000 are injured.

Workplace Transport can pose a potential risk to the safety of Engineer Surveyors.  This particularly applies to those who need to travel by company car on major roads and motorways or in unfamiliar areas.  These risks are in addition to those arising from an Engineer Surveyors normal work equipment inspection/examination activities conducted in unfamiliar surroundings such as a construction site or a quarry, each of which presents its own particular hazards.

In these instances, it is important that an Engineer Surveyor adopts a clear objective of what they need to do and what they may require others to do.  In principle, this means they must identify the work activities, involving vehicles or plant movement and assess the risks to themselves and to anyone else.  For example, before any examination begins they should identify:

·         Any persons from whom they may need assistance during their examination

·         Any other exposed employees in the vicinity

·         The plant and the surrounding area in which harm may arise from the varying forms of transport

·         Any other work activities in the vicinity

Typical site hazards might include:

·         The vehicles themselves

·         The driver/operator requested to assist in the thorough examination - are they competent, are they authorised by the site employer to drive/operate the vehicle in question? - are there site safe working procedures, which must be observed/followed?

·         Part of the assessment may have to include whether the person is capable, for example confirming that they are not suffering from any medical condition likely to cause themselves and others including yourself any harm.  If you believe that such a condition exists then you should raise the matter with the client on whose site you are working.

·         Is the area suitable for the thorough examination, is it sufficient in size, are there any obstructions likely to cause an increased risk of injury, is there a danger of the vehicle/plant overturning or being hit by other plant/vehicles whilst being examined.

·         Dangers to others, which might include the driver – Is there a danger of others being struck by the vehicle/plant?  Is there a danger of people falling from the vehicle/plant?

·         Is there a risk to you and the company car; do you require another form of transport to take you to the designated thorough examination area; are there risks to you and the company car whilst you are travelling on the site from the sites own transport/vehicles, for example large dumper trucks in a quarry or the operation of mobile cranes in a steelworks etc.

14. 5    Workplace Transport Safety – Identifying who might be harmed and how?

Site Examinations

Whilst it is recognised that the site operator is responsible for assessing the risks in the workplace which arise out of the work activities and for taking measures necessary to reduce those risks, Engineer Surveyors must address the issue of protecting their own health and safety.  In addition, others might be affected by the acts or omissions of an Engineer Surveyor or the risks associated with their activities.  This would include both the driving of a company car on the clients premises and also before and during the time that an Engineer Surveyor undertakes a thorough examination of a vehicle or item of plant.

For each hazard identified an Engineer Surveyor should determine who might be harmed, and how.  The people that could be harmed are likely to be anyone employed at the workplace, including other drivers/ operators, other employees, contractors, sub-contractors, visitors and members of the public, including yourself.

Conducting a Thorough Examination

Transport risks are prevalent even when a vehicle or item of plant is stationary.  This is particularly the case during a thorough examination when there is a need to examine underneath a vehicle, or in the case of a fork lift truck when the mast has to be raised.  Risks can also be associated with having to communicate with a driver in a cab above you.  In all but the simplest of cases it is extremely important that an Engineer Surveyor assesses the risks, for example:-

·         The stability of the lifting equipment during examination.

·         Is there sufficient room for the mast/boom of the machine to be raised to its maximum height.

·         Is the vehicle or item of plant in a position for you to complete your thorough examination without having to be constantly vigilant of other site traffic, employees, other machinery etc.

·         The surrounding area (buildings, plant and people), are they at risk.

·         The need for safe working practices; isolation procedures – switching the vehicle off whilst certain parts of the thorough examination are being carried out, disconnecting power during the examination etc.

·         Cranes must always work on a hard, level base.  The ground pressure may even be excessive in a no load situation.  Ensure that what you are requesting is within the operating parameters of the crane.

14.6     Workplace Transport Safety – Evaluating the risks

For each hazard, bear in mind those who are at risk from the hazard and evaluate the risks, i.e. the likelihood that harm will occur and its severity, and assess whether existing control measures are adequate or whether additional controls are needed.

Site Examination

If you conclude that something more needs to be done which is not within your control, you should stop the activity, bearing in mind that it must be safe to do so.  You should then consult with the client in order to try to find a suitable solution, for example request the client provides an alternative area in which to carry out the thorough examination.

Even if you are authorised/certified to drive a particular vehicle or item of plant that is the subject of your examination, you should still arrange for the assistance of a site driver to operate the vehicle/plant.  The only exception to this is where you have had appropriate training for the class of vehicle/plant and where the client has pre-authorised you to operate the vehicle/plant.  You should make it clear to the operator driver that they are in overall control of the vehicle/plant, even though you are directing them to carry out the various manoeuvres to assist in your examination.  It is the drivers responsibility to maintain the safety of the plant at all times and therefore it is equally important that you should pay attention to their advice/instructions during the thorough examination.

Examination activity associated with mobile plant

·         Only operate vehicles if you are competent and authorised to do so.  For example, fork lift truck drivers have to undergo specific training and in addition have to be authorised by the client to drive the truck on the site.  Crane drivers have to undergo specialist training and must be over the age of eighteen.

·         Elevating work platforms require specific operator training and only trained and authorised people are allowed to operate them.

·         In the event of you operating a piece of mobile plant make sure you fully understand the operating controls before you commence.

·         Do not operate a vehicle on sloping sites.

·         Ensure the operator has applied any passenger restraint provided.

·         Beware of inadvertent operation due to faulty controls and always locate yourself in a safe position, e.g. always stand on the opposite side of a mobile crane when the jib is slewing.

Driving on the Road

Equally as important to the assessment of risks needed before undertaking a thorough examination on a client site is the need to assess and continually review the risks associated with the driving of a company car.  Every Engineer Surveyor must address the issues of protecting themselves and others which will include a pre-assessment of the car before the journey begins and a continual assessment of the vehicle bearing in mind the prevailing weather and road conditions.

Road Traffic

The safety of all drivers (whether the car is privately owned or company owned) is paramount to the company.  Together with a little consideration and forward planning risks can be minimised.

Pre-Journey activities.

Plan your journey – know your route, have an idea of how long the journey will take and build in sufficient time for breaks and potential traffic congestion.

Check your tyres – walk round the car, checking your tyres and looking for any damage to the lights or other obstructions.  Tyre pressure should be checked once a week with tyres at normal operating temperatures (not too hot or too cold).  From time to time check the tread, the minimum legal requirement is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth and in a continuous band around the entire circumference of the tyre.  Check the tyre walls on a regular basis and try not to kerb your tyres (bumps or scrapes reduce the life of the tyre by up to 1000 miles each time).  Damaged walls can also give rise to a blow-out at speed.

Clean your windows – visibility on the road is crucial to your safety.  Check the windscreen bottle; make sure it is topped up at regular intervals.

Equipment – ensure all equipment is adequately stored to prevent damage on movement in transit.

Driving a car on site.

The factors governing your safety and the risks to your safety begin when you have to enter a client’s site and therefore it is extremely important that you make contact with the client as quickly as possible upon arrival.  This will enable the client to consider the risks posed by your vehicle, and make decisions as to whether their existing control measures are adequate, for example, is there a need to put in place further traffic control measures specifically in relation to your activity, i.e. arrange for you to be transported to the designated work area or be provided with temporary parking arrangements for your car (to enable you to have access to your tools and equipment you carry in the boot of your car), etc.

In addition, this is the time that you must:-

·         Comply with the sites transport rules.

·         Not drive at excessive speeds.

·         Follow established site traffic routes or site instructions.

·         Not reverse the vehicle without checking behind the vehicle for pedestrians or other obstructions.

·         Switch off your engine, remove the keys and lock your vehicle when leaving it unattended.

·         Evaluate where you park your vehicle.

·         Remember, site roads may be mud-covered – can your vehicle cope with the site road conditions (keep your windscreen wash topped up)?

Finally, other site vehicles may not expect you to be there, so give this careful consideration during your manoeuvres on site.

14.7     Workplace Transport Safety – Review your risk assessment from time to time

Even when you are satisfied that your risk assessment has reduced the prevailing risks to their lowest practicable level, it is good practice to review the risk assessment from time to time, to check and ensure that it works and remains valid.

Driving  - Summary

Anyone who passes a driving test knows what has to done before moving off in a vehicle.  Cockpit drill helps prepare you mentally for the journey ahead.  Checking the mirrors, the dashboard controls (lights, oil fuel, etc, the door security, seat adjustment and the fitting of the seatbelt helps to familiarise and settle the driver before the journey.

Driving is both a mental, physical and mechanical activity.  The three key considerations here are concentration, observation and anticipation.


This requires the full application of mind and body to the task in hand to the exclusion of anything and everything not relevant to the task.  On average, a typical drivers concentration level is around 20%.  Concentration while driving can be lost through:

·         Boredom

·         Driving for a long period of time without a break

·         Bad weather conditions

·         Rushing to meet a deadline

·         Other road distractions

·         Distractions in the vehicle, including music, reading, mobile phones, smoking etc.

·         Highway hypnosis caused by driving at the same speed without visual stimulation.


Always be aware of the speed and braking distances (reaction time) of other vehicles around you. You should be aiming for 360 – degrees visual awareness


Expect the unexpected.  Think ahead and try to anticipate what lies around each bend, here are some tips:

·         Always brake in a straight line, changing direction may interfere with the cars stability.

·         Brake smoothly, particularly on wet, icy, snow covered or oily surfaces.

·         Leave enough room between your car and the car in front of you.

·         Always drive at a speed that enables you to control the vehicle in the conditions you encounter.

14.8     Mobile Telephone Usage

Mobile phone use while driving has been proved to be a dangerous distraction and is now subject to legislation, even when using a fixed hands free kit, the use of the phone whilst driving should be avoided.  All car drivers should only use the answer facility, making the caller aware that they are driving and arrange to call them back once you have found a convenient and safe place to stop the car.

14.9     Workplace Transport Safety – Taking the Stress out of Driving

Poor posture can cause a lack of concentration and make the driver feel sleepy and so it is important that you:

·         Make sure your seat provides adequate support for the small of your back

·         Adjust your seat so that the steering wheel and pedals are within comfortable reach

·         Bend your knees slightly when using the pedals

·         Keep your hands a comfortable distance apart on the steering wheel with arms slightly bent

·         Do not allow the inside of the car to get too cold or hot, and keep the car well ventilated

·         Drive within the speed limits that prevail.

14.10   End of module and next steps

Well done!  By reaching this point you will have finished studying this particular module.  You should know have sufficient knowledge to answer the questions contained at the end of the module.

Answers to the questions should be forwarded to your Health and Safety Manager.

Provided that you have answered the questions correctly, your Health and Safety Manager will forward to you your next self study module.

Click here to answer question on Module 14