A guide to workplace transport safety

According to the HSE’s statistics, every year there are over 5000 accidents involving workplace transport. The HSE has recently renewed guidance to help employers reduce the occurrence of accidents.

Safe site guidance

A well designed workplace can help make accidents at work less likely. The HSE recommends segregating pedestrians from vehicle traffic routes and, where possible, sites should have a one way system to help reduce the need for a vehicle to reverse. Barriers and signs can be used to help to segregate vehicles and pedestrians.

The revised guidance gives employers other tips to help create a safe site such as: increasing visibility and lighting, reducing the speed of vehicles, or implementing speed humps.

Having a traffic management plan in place can help prevent accidents from occurring. Convictions of companies for transport safety issues can carry significant fines. 

According to the HSE’s figures, around a quarter of all deaths involving vehicles at work occur as a result of reversing. With this in mind, the HSE recommends removing the need to reverse through the implementation of a one-way system. The HSE does accept that it is not always possible to remove the need for reversing entirely. However, if reversing is necessary:

  • a reversing area should be designed and clearly marked.
  • barriers should be installed to segregate pedestrian zones.
  • drivers’ field of vision should be increased where possible (through fitting of additional mirrors, for example).
  • consider installing equipment such as reversing alarms or cameras.
  • if using a banksman, ensure they are properly trained and visible.

The HSE’s guidance also gives specific guidance for other activities such as: parking, coupling and uncoupling, loading and unloading, tipping, overturning and sheeting.

Safe vehicle, safe driver

It is important to ensure that vehicles used in the workplace are suitable for purpose. Where necessary, employers should consider fitting warning devices to vehicles, such as rotating beacons or visible markings so the vehicle is clearly visible to pedestrians. Additionally, vehicles must be properly maintained and in good working order.

Employers must also ensure that drivers are competent to operate a vehicle safely and that employees receive the appropriate information, instruction and training for any vehicle they use.

The full guide on ensuring safe site, safe vehicle and safe driver -  “A guide to workplace transport safety” - can be downloaded free at

Author: Joanne Witheford

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

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Vikki Woodfine

Partner - Head of Road Haulage & Logistics

Best known as the “Lorry Lawyer” I am also Head of the Road Haulage & Logistics group at DWF and specialise in health and safety defence work and road transport law.