The importance of proper plans on a construction work site should never be underestimated, including proper traffic plans, especially on sites where heavy machinery and vehicles are being operated.
Whenever vehicles and pedestrians collide on a construction site there is the risk of an accident which is why site controllers must ensure that these entities can safely move around premises by developing the necessary plans.
An accident which took place on a work site in Bedfordshire in the UK recently is an example of what can happen when vehicles and pedestrians are unable to move safely around a work site. A truck driver was crushed between vehicles in a haulage yard where he was employed, apparently due to a lack of a proper traffic management plan.
The driver was almost killed when another truck driver reversed into him, causing him to be trapped between 2 heavy goods vehicles.
This is precisely why health and safety is such an important issue in the construction sector, because the actions of one have implications for the health and safety of others on a work site, this driver was crushed because of the actions of another driver.
It is also important that trucks are properly inspected, managed and maintained on construction sites. Trucks reversing beepers should always be in working condition and in fact if possible traffic plans should eliminate the need to reverse at all on construction sites, particularly sites where space is limited.
The driver in this incident suffered a severe spinal cord injury and also sustained a number of fractures to his ribs. In addition he suffered a brain injury which affected his sight. These injuries mean that he will likely not be able to return to work on a construction site and his quality of life will never be the same again. The man may be out of hospital but he is still unable to walk.
This work site was a risk not only to their employees but also to the public and according to authorities what makes this so tragic is that the incident was avoidable, had a proper traffic plan been implemented.
The prosecutor in the case said that if there was a system to control vehicles and pedestrians moving around the site, such a tragic incident would not have occurred. Robin Cooper, the prosecutor went on to state:
“Mr Psaila was taken by air ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and put in an induced coma for four weeks. Several months after the incident he was discharged from hospital but he will never walk again which has had tragic consequences for him and his family.
There is no system of control sufficiently robust to allow vehicles and pedestrians to move around the yard safely and as such there was a failure on the part of both companies to assess the risks.
There was the potential for all employees of both companies to be exposed to the same risk as Mr Psaila and potential harm to the public.”