Speaker: David Mason, Manager, Supply Chain H & S Travis Perkins

Dave gave us an entertaining and thought provoking presentation on workplace transport. He used workplace case studies to illustrate the four main strands of his presentation on managing workplace transport covering:

  • The challenges: use of near miss workplace traffic incidents and revised risk assessments to help understand why things have gone wrong.
  • Workplace behaviour: examining the benefits of observations and coaching.
  • Workplace environment: separating traffic from people, including the use of technological advances.
  • Achievements: ways of recognising and rewarding best health and safety practice in the workplace.

Dave used his workplace experiences of accident investigations to show that poor risk assessment processes and a lack of employee involvement in developing safe systems of work were key causes of potentially serious workplace traffic accidents. He used workplace case studies of fork-lift tack accidents that highlighted the risks posed by generic risk assessments that were not ‘fit for purpose’ because most workplace traffic environments have different layouts, functions and high risk areas.

He stressed that if a near miss accident identified a need for urgent actions it was important that someone was given responsibility for ensuring that those actions were implemented. He highlighted the importance of an efficient ‘action’ tracking system that gave site managers and senior directors access to up-to-date information about the progress of urgent actions and allowed them to ensure that urgent actions were completed in a timely manner.

Dave said that he believed that it was imperative that accident and near-miss investigations were seen to be fair and that the investigation process was clearly defined and understood by everyone in the workplace. He explained that Travis Perkins plc used an accident investigation flow chart system, based on the theory of diminishing culpability, where decisions were clearly documented.

Dave’s case studies also showed that it was possible to develop a positive workplace culture amongst forklift truck drivers if they knew that managers would listen to their concerns and work with them to devise practical solutions to know problem areas.

He emphasised the importance of relevant training and the need for everyone, from directors and senior managers downwards, to take responsibility for safe working practices in their work areas. He also stressed that it was important that everyone took a pride in their workplace, that it was kept clean and tidy and that road markings and signage were clear and up-to-date.

Dave’s final advice was that there is no single action that will solve all workplace transport problems. However, a risk assessment based approach for all traffic/pedestrian interfaces and other problem areas, combined with worker engagement, and a realistic system for managing change will improve transport health and safety. As will a system of practical annual risk assessment reviews with inputs from workers who are ‘doing the job’.

A copy of Dave’s presentation is available here: Feb 2017 Managing workplace transport

Managing workplace transport: site, warehouse and vehicle/pedestrian safety