With limited rear vision, reversing a truck or a van is a high-risk activity. Nearly a quarter of all vehicle-related deaths at work involve reversing (HSE figures). Environments where there is a lot of reversing activity can result in complacency, and this is further fuelled by the low-speed nature of most reversing. Too many drivers simply don’t see reversing as dangerous, as it is a low speed frequent activity.

A reversing refuse wagon in a busy council yard recently caused serious injury to another council employee. The incident resulted in an embarrassing court case with a significant fine for the council.

Whilst the council had recognised the dangers of reversing and taken the time to set out safe procedures for reversing to control the identified risks, their employees were evidently not taking any notice of the procedures and CCTV footage showed that they were routinely ignoring the employer’s instructions.

Legislation requires that employers ‘make, and give effect to, appropriate arrangements for the control of risks‘. Whilst there are employers who consider that having a Health & Safety Policy document is all that is required to meet their obligations, this case serves to highlight that there is more to it than it just having procedures in place.

The employer’s duty to ‘give effect to appropriate arrangements’ adds obligations to ensure that the employees are aware of and actually carry out their obligations, to ensure that the process is complete and effective.

You can now also assess your fleet risk, free-of-charge with our quick and easy to use online Fleet Audit which provides guidance on the management of employees who drive on company business, and the vehicles they drive. It covers all aspects of fleet risk management and may include areas of risk you haven’t considered.

For free access to the Fleet Audit click here

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