Every year hundreds of people risk serious injury falling from vehicles. Here we outline the basic steps to prevent falls while loading and unloading vehicles.

Causes of Falls

  • Slipping and falling from loads and access steps and ladders
  • Broken ropes or torn sheets that cause overbalancing.
  • Inappropriate footwear
  • Lack of awareness and training

What do I Need to Do?

As with all work at height, there are basic steps you should take to reduce the chances of people falling and being injured.

  • If you can avoid the need for work at height then do so.
  • When you can’t avoid working at height you must take steps to prevent falls.
  • If there are any remaining risks of falls you should take steps to minimize them.

Safety Checklist

These tips will go a long way towards tackling the problem of falls from vehicles.

  • Always use all equipment provided to avoid working at height if available.
  • Don’t jump from vehicles or loads.
  • Report damaged, loose, or inadequate steps and handholds – ensure that steps are safe for you to use.
  • Report slippery surfaces, such as those that are oily or greasy.
  • Keep the vehicle clean and free of loose debris – avoid creating tripping hazards.
  • Wear suitable footwear for the job.
  • Ensure steps and work areas are well lit.
  • Use edge protection on tail-lifts (where it is fitted).
  • Do not walk backwards near the rear or side of the vehicle bed.
  • Only use equipment such as ropes, straps, curtains, sheets, nets etc. if you can be sure it is well maintained and is in a good state of repair.

Questions for Discussion

  • Before working in or on a vehicle, do you consider how to do it safely?
  • What can you do to reduce the chances of falling from the vehicle you are working on?

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