Loading and unloading of goods has been identified by the HSE as the highest risk activity commonly carried out in many sectors, accounting for up to 30% of all workplace transport accidents.
With the annual pre-Christmas surge in deliveries, often combined with an increase in seasonal staff and changes in working patterns, Autumn has long been recognised as the most dangerous time of year for materials handling employees.
Mentor Training’s Technical Manager Steve Baldwin explains: "Loading bay safety always needs special attention, with so many load, pedestrian and vehicle movements. The extra risks of visiting drivers who don’t know your procedures, and the potential for loads to shift in transit also pose a particular safety issue to those working in and around loading bays.
"The extra pressure of the Christmas rush multiplies that risk – but it’s something that needs to be considered all year round."
Special safety measures recommended by the HSE for the loading bay include additional risk assessments, printing procedures on delivering for visiting drivers and empowering drivers and staff to halt loading or unloading instantly, should they have any concerns.
Additionally, the Fork Lift Truck Association urges businesses to ensure all staff visiting the loading bay, in whatever capacity, are adequately trained to recognise the unique risks involved.
Steve continues: "With each delivery bringing so many potential issues, loading bay safety really does come down to human skills; giving everyone the knowledge to spot a problem, and the confidence and authority to do something about, it before an accident happens. And that applies to temporary staff and pedestrians as much as it does full-time loading staff, drivers or fork lift truck operators."