Skip loaders play a major role in the disposal of waste and are in use every day to collect domestic and industrial waste. They are also dangerous pieces of machinery to operate with incorrect maintenance and operation resulting in injury and death. The Health And Safety Executive (HSE) recognises the dangers of skip loaders and has produced a comprehensive leaflet with guidelines on how to operate skip loaders correctly.
The leaflet takes into consideration the dangers to operators and bystanders and outlines the dangers that may occur. It also covers vehicle checks, worker competence, reversing, dropping off/picking up and being aware of the stability of doors. Accidents involving skip loaders can be life-changing and in the worse cases fatal. It is therefore important to incorporate safe handling of skip loaders into your Health and Safety policy and provide adequate training for staff.
There are millions of workplace accidents, involving machinery, every year. The costs of such accidents range in the millions due to the effect they have on the quality of life of survivors and costs to businesses. In 2016 the human cost of fatal injuries was £1,203,000 and £ 414,200 in financial cost which is £ 1,617,000 in total. These figures do not take into account days off work due to non-fatal injuries and the ongoing health costs. The HSE have summarised the cost of workplace injuries in this document.
Any waste company worth its salt will ensure that staff are fully trained and the equipment is meticulously maintained. In 2017 a haulage boss and mechanic were convicted of manslaughter after a skip lorry went out of control and killed four people in Bath. The driver was acquited because the equipment had not been sufficiently maintained. Here are a few simple guidelines (as outlined by the HSE) which will help you to prevent such an accident happening in your company.
This is where a risk assessment is very handy. Drivers and co-workers must be made aware of the dangers that may occur. These include; collision, falling, slipping, faulty lifting equipment, overhead cables, overturning and runaway vehicles.
It is of paramount importance skip loaders are checked before work starts and any faults are reported. These checks include; brakes, tyres, steering, seatbelts, wheel chocks, lifting equipment, reversing beepers, mirrors and reversing cameras. It is in the driver’s best interests to make these checks to avoid becoming another statistic. Workers should also be confident about the surrounding area and the position of their vehicle in it.
Companies are responsible for developing safety checks and procedures but it is the responsibility for the worker to adhere to them. They should also know a route suitable for their vehicle, follow the highway code to the letter, watch out for pedestrians and wear safety gear.
Drivers should avoid reversing too frequently and long distances. They must be aware of hazards all around the vehicle to avoid causing damage to property or even worse killing, someone.
Twisted and broken ankles can be avoided by stepping carefully out of the cab rather than jumping out. Suitable footwear such as boots with ankle support prevent ankles from twisting. Once a driver leaves their vehicle they must remain close to their own vehicle.
Making sure you park on firm flat ground, applying the handbrake and using chocks if this is not possible will keep your truck firmly in place. Do a vehicle safety check taking into account the effect the load has on the vehicle and be vigilant about everything and everyone around you.
If you are interested in purchasing a skip loader or would like to start a maintenance plan contact us and we would be happy to discuss your options.