One of the major safety hazards within the supply chain industry is the safe execution of the loading and unloading phase. Forklift operators, truck drivers and other personnel have a higher chance of collision as demand for more deliveries increases.
This issue led to a joint industry committee forming known as the LUEZ (loading, unloading exclusion zone) Committee to develop best practice guidelines to minimise and prevent these traffic accidents from happening.
The LUEZ (loading, unloading exclusion zone) Committee developed guidelines that are based on three fundamental principles that should be incorporated into any system for managing loading and unloading.
- “Forklifts and other equipment used for loading and unloading, should be segregated away from drivers and other pedestrians
- Authority for the area where loading and unloading is occurring should be with the forklift operator; and
- If the driver ceases to be in the direct line of sight of the forklift operator, then activity should immediately stop until line of sight is re-established.”
The guidelines set out best practice controls for implementing these principles in any workplace. However, each workplace is required to implement a safety system and procedure to manage their LUEZ hazards and risks on their premises through the development of traffic management plans.
Traffic Management Planning commences at the design stage by creating a clear layout of the workplace and identifying areas where vehicles and individuals could come into contact. For example, by preventing vehicles from being used in areas accessed by people or creating different traffic routes to prevent individuals from entering areas where there are vehicles. If this is not achievable, the risks must be minimised wherever possible.
Managing High-risk Activities
Under the WHS Laws, workplaces have a legal obligation to manage high-risk activities in their workplace. The high-risk activity of loading or unloading needs to be managed through safe operational procedures. There are three essential elements to consider in this procedure, which are setting up an Exclusion Zone and Safety Zones, ensuring an effective communication system and employing licensed and competent mobile plant operators.
The elements to consider in “loading or unloading procedure” are as follows
Exclusion Zone and Safety Zones
- Identify a pedestrian exclusion zone around the truck.
- Identify a safety zone for the driver – e.g. at the front of the truck, in the amenities area or in the cabin, if it is safe to do so.
- Erect barriers, such as fences or gates, around the safety zone – or use chains or tape.
- No-one should enter the exclusion zone without the mobile plant operator’s approval.
- The mobile plant operator should not begin loading or unloading until everyone is clear of the exclusion zone.
- Maintaining an exclusion zone around the truck while loading or unloading will also eliminate the risk of anyone being hit by falling loads.
Effective means of communication
An effective communication system goes a long way in enhancing the safety process between the mobile plant operator and the drivers. The use of hand signals, two-way radios, signs, lights, alarm systems could assist in making the loading and unloading process safer.
Mobile Plant Requirements
- Ensure operators are appropriately licensed and trained to load safely in accordance with road safety legislation.
- Fit speed limiting devices, where appropriate.
- Fit reversing sensors, cameras or audible warning devices.
- Ensure tyres, windscreens, mirrors, reversing sensors are well maintained.
- Ensure mobile plant is appropriate for the loads and workplace.
- Work environment has adequate lighting.
- Provide a safe loading/unloading surface area.
- Personal protective equipment – e.g. high-visibility work gear.
It is essential to implement measures to ensure that trucks cannot move during loading/unloading. The procedure must prevent unauthorised access to ignition keys and the cabin, and that systems are in place to alert the driver when it is safe to leave.
Establishing safety procedures takes planning and control of vehicle and pedestrian movements, in and around the defined workplace space, to ensure safety. Workplaces which fail to provide safe environments, run the risk of breaching workplace health and safety legislation that may result in fines and penalties.
Need to improve traffic management at your site or workplace call Verge Safety Barriers Today on 1800 765 539