SAFed Health and Safety Passport Scheme

Module 5 — Workplace Safety — Access and egress

5.1       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 complete 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.

5.2       Key Objectives

Having studied this module you should have an awareness of

·         Legislation applicable to Workplace Safety.

·         Precautions necessary during access and egress.

This module is specifically focussed on workplace safety with respect to access and egress from sites that you will visit as part of your normal duties.

5.3       Legal commentary

The following regulations ensure that workplaces meet the health, safety and welfare needs of all members of a workforce.  On clients sites this becomes a shared responsibility between you, your employer and the clients’ employers.

The Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992.

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

5.4       Discussion

Safe access to and egress from your work site is to ensure that you are not exposed to any danger, and once this safe access and egress has been provided, you are responsible for your own health and safety.  It is very much up to you to keep them that way.

Most injuries to field staff occur as a result of slips trips and falls whilst gaining access to make inspections or during egress at the completion of inspections.  A common cause of injury is also trapping.

5.5       Workplace Safety — Access and Egress

You cannot expect to meet ideal conditions at all times, therefore you must take care when moving around particularly in new or changing situations. Examples of hazards to look out for include:

Trip hazards


Welding hoses, electrical cables, phone cables, cable ducts in floor, raised manholes, uneven floors.

Ankle & foot injuries


Swarf, nails, bolts, hot metal, steel plates, raised forks of forklift trucks.

Slip hazards


Wet surfaces, oils, grease.

The nature of an Engineer Surveyors work is such that the person who can do most for your health and safety is yourself.  There is a statutory obligation on you to work safely and to ensure that your work does not adversely affect the health and safety of others.  There is also a responsibility on you to comply with all health and safety rules at the sites you visit.

Our industry requires you to work, at times, under conditions that may be regarded as hazardous in order that the normal user of the equipment being inspected will be safe.  Nevertheless, on rare occasions you may find the safety arrangements laid on by the client to be inadequate.  In these circumstances you should take the matter up with the person in charge in order to improve the situation.  Clients must provide suitable safe access.  If they don’t we don’t expose ourselves to danger.

If the action taken is nil or not sufficient to reduce the risk to your health and safety you should then contact your line manager before proceeding with your inspection.  We do not want you, or any of our staff, to receive an injury or to suffer a risk to health whilst at work.

5.5.1    Evacuation Procedures

Evacuation procedures are there to ensure that you can get out of your place of work safely and quickly especially in the case of ‘serious and imminent danger’.  You need a safe way in and particularly a safe way out in an emergency.

Site Induction

Every site should tell you about specific safety rules and procedures that are in place including how to activate alarms, what the alarms sound like and what they mean, the location of muster points, details of all escape routes, the site emergency phone number and the location of all first aid points.

Your safety passport course will enabled you to grasp the general principles of safety however induction courses are necessary for you to learn that particular sites safety rules and procedures

Muster Points:  These may also be known as assembly points and are used for carrying out a head count to see who may be left behind.  Typically this would include a Roll call being carried out by a nominated marshal.


Evacuation Plan:  Having an evacuation plan in place ensures safe escape.  All escape routes should be clearly marked and identified.  Emergency exits should not be blocked by vehicles, stores or rubbish  


Security:  Many sites use various forms of ‘Pass systems’ to prevent unauthorised access, and to help identify who may be onsite during emergencies.  Typically, when arriving on site, you would identify yourself at the site gatehouse or security office, sign in and collect some form of security pass which you personally must return as you leave.

Actions in Case of an Emergency:

·         Make your job safe.

·         Go quickly, without running, to you muster / assembly point and give your name to the marshal.

·         Do not return until told that it is safe to do so by the marshal.

·         Do not attempt to use lifts.

·         Use only the normal routes — follow the ‘white on green square’ arrows if you find your way blocked there will be other routes

5.5.2    Escape Routes

These clearly identified routes are your means of escape in case of fire.  If there is a risk that people will not know where to go, you will need the familiar green fire exit and/or directional signs


Emergency routes and exits should:

·         Lead as directly as possible to the open air away from the workplace or to a safe area.

·         Be adequate for the type of workplace and the people likely to be in it.

·         Be able to be quickly and safely used in the event of a power failure.

Escape route and emergency doors:

Whilst the workplace is in use, doors on escape routes should not be so locked or fastened that they cannot easily and immediately be opened from the inside.  Where the risks require it, emergency doors must open outwards

5.5.3    Housekeeping

Good housekeeping ensures your way in and way out is clear and free from any obstruction.  Every workplace should be kept clean.  Cleaning and the removal of waste should be carried out as necessary by an effective method with waste being be stored in suitable receptacles.  Workrooms should have enough free space to allow people to move about with ease

5.5.4    Lighting

Access and exit routes should be lit where practicable, especially where pedestrians and vehicles share routes.

Lighting should be sufficient to enable people to work and move about safely.  If necessary, local lighting should be provided at individual workstations, and especially at places of particular risk such as crossing points on traffic routes.

The lighting and light fittings should not create any hazard.

Automatic emergency lighting, powered by an independent source should be provided where sudden loss of light would create a risk


5.5.5    Working Alone

There are occasions when, by choice or due to circumstances, you will be in a position where you are working alone, and in these instances safety must be your overriding consideration.

To safeguard yourself, certain actions should always be taken to ensure that you will be missed in the event of an accident.

Such actions include:

·         Advising the family at home where you are going that day, approx what times you will be there, who to contact and when you expect to return.

·         If the situation is remote and where keys have to be obtained, impress on the key holder how long you will be and if possible try to return the keys to the key holder rather than leaving them to be collected or pushing them through a letter box.

·         If there is no one of authority or any responsible person at the particular location try to make your presence known so that some one is aware you are on the premises.

·         If that is not practicable leave a door open, park your car in a prominent position, leave a light on or devise some other means to ensure that enquiries will be made should you still be at the location.

·         Set up pre-arranged call times with a member of your family, a friend or someone connected with the job by using a mobile phone to so that investigations will be started if no contact is made - however remember to make sure you have a phone signal first.


·         Contacting a responsible person on arrival and advising them who you are, what you are there for and how long you will be there on the premises.  This should be always undertaken at all sites because:

a)      Professional courtesy to client.

b)      To learn any site specific risks — this could be identity of dangerous areas or operation that is underway such as chemical cleaning, building work or some other activity which you need to be aware of.

c)      To obtain work permit if required.

d)      To enable you to comply with any in-house requirements — may be that you need to leave matches, lighters, mobile phones at the gatehouse.

e)      To enable you to comply with local fire and evacuation procedures.

f)       Advise them that you may be working alone.

g)      Remember to sign out on completion.

The list above may not all be applicable but judgements and experience will always be your safeguards in protecting yourself.  Remember that lone working does not always mean working in a remote location, it may mean remote from assistance.          If unsure don’t do it !

5.5.6    Vehicles on Site

There are basic rules that should always be followed when driving vehicles on site:

·         You must have a current licence to drive them.

·         Park them so as not to block access ways — do not park in restricted areas.

·         Always check what the site speed limit is and stick rigidly to it.

·         Inside buildings this speed limit could be as low as 5 mph — crawl with all your lights on as people do not expect to see vehicles indoors.

·         Wear your seat belt — accidents still occur when you are travelling slowly.

·         Be observant and considerate.

·         Watch out for pedestrians and always give them the right of way.

·         Mobile phones should not be used

Transport Accidents occur because:

·         Contact — with structures and services.

·         Overturning — through incorrect loading, speeding, surface conditions.

·         Collision — with other vehicles or pedestrians.

·         Impact — materials falling or the vehicle overturning onto the operator.

·         Entanglement — in dangerous parts of machinery or controls.

·         Explosion — when charging batteries or inflating tyres.

·         Operator/supervisor error — through inadequate training or experience.

These accidents are preventable by the use of a planned approach including:

·         Driver selection based on an evaluation of age, experience, driving record and attitude.

·         Training & certification of all drivers covering company driving rules and what to do in the event of an accident.

·         Supervision must be in place to ensure that all vehicle drivers engage in safe practices.

·         Prevent unauthorised persons using vehicles.

·         Control of visiting drivers through a detailed induction process and the provision of suitable traffic safety signs or markers

·         Traffic control in the workplace through the provision of clear rights of way with adequate clearance being provided for the safe movement of vehicles.

·         The separation of pedestrian and motor traffic with suitable warning signs or lights in prominent places.

·         Loading and unloading occur in designated areas.

·         Control of vehicle speed with appropriate speed limits.

·         Accident investigation — Reporting process, analysis of reports and corrective action follow up.

·         Maintenance procedures — safety, economy and efficiency will all benefit.

Floors and traffic routes should be sound and strong enough for the loads placed on them and the traffic expected to use them.  The surfaces should not have holes, be uneven or slippery and should be kept free of obstructions.

Restrictions should be clearly indicated.  Where sharp or blind bends are unavoidable or vehicles need to reverse, measures such as one-way systems and visibility mirrors should be considered.  Speed limits should be set.  Screens should be provided to protect people who have to work where they would be at risk from exhaust fumes or materials likely to fall from vehicles.
Additional measures need to be taken where pedestrians have to cross or share vehicle routes.  These may include marking of routes, provision of crossing points, bridges, subways and barriers.  Loading bays should have at least one exit point from the lower level or a refuge should be provided to avoid people being struck or crushed by vehicles.

5.6       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 5