One of the most dangerous issues related to vehicles on a construction site is presented by pedestrians and vehicles converging, which is why site controllers and planners must pay particular attention to the proper separation of pedestrians and vehicles.
An incident that took place on a London construction site is a reminder of the importance of proper separation of workers and vehicles. During the incident an injured workman was allowed to “wander about” on the construction site near a dumper truck subsequently resulting in him being run over by the truck.
A report in a London newspaper stated that allegations against the company related to the failure to properly separate pedestrians from traffic on a Plymouth construction project in 2010.
The Plymouth Crown Court heard that a delivery driver was seriously injured when he was run over by a dump truck on a construction site. The court also heard that the man suffered brain damage as a result of the accident as well as multiple broken bones when he fell into the path of the moving vehicle.
The worker was apparently allowed to wander around on the site which did not have properly demarcated pedestrian zones and vehicles paths. The Health and Safety Executive’s representation Mark Watson explained to the court:
“It is not known how it came to be that he was lying in the middle of the road, but clearly he was in a location where he was allowed to walk, the prosecution say, putting him at risk of being struck by dumper trucks regularly using this road to go back and forth to a spoil heap.”
The court also heard that the truck driver did not see the worker until it was too late and he had already run over him.
The company JB Leadbitter is being prosecuted for failing to protect the worker by providing a safe work environment. The court heard that the company also failed in its duty to protect pedestrians from risks to their health and safety from moving vehicles at the Mount Wise site on October 7 2010. The company has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The company’s failures are inexcusable when you consider that it was a fairly large site, with approximately 200 people at work, involved with the construction of around 160 homes over 82 weeks. The trial is ongoing.
Another major concern is traffic routes on site. Employers need to ensure that vehicles can avoid reversing as much as possible to avoid incidents of this nature.
Those in control of the work site need to ensure that there are systems in place to sufficiently control vehicles and pedestrians moving around the construction yard and allow them to do so safely.
Having these systems in place is only the first step. Those in control of the site need to ensure that workers are properly trained on OHS and how to safely conduct themselves on the worksite, including white card training and additional site specific training which should cover issues such as the sites’ traffic control measures and how to move around the site safely whether on foot or in a vehicle.