January 18, 2022
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The HSE recently issued a safety notice concerning the use of wheeled loading shovels in waste and recycling facilities. This follows nine fatal vehicle-pedestrian collisions over four years involving these vehicles. Six of these were in the waste and recycling sector (the remainder involved wood chip).

While wheeled loading shovels are versatile machines, driver visibility can be a problem and is affected by various blind spots caused by the bucket (and load), the engine at the rear and the cab pillars. In recent years, fitting larger capacity buckets has become common practice where low-density material is being moved, however these can significantly further reduce the driver’s ability to see pedestrians and, to a lesser extent, other vehicles.

The HSE advise that although manufacturers and others have been developing camera systems for some time to address the forward visibility problems, until these are proven and widely available, the only effective control measure currently is strict segregation of vehicles and pedestrians. If you cannot ensure that segregation, you should not use larger capacity buckets on wheeled loaders; you should use alternative work methods, e.g. different machinery and/or site management arrangements.

The safety notice recommends that before using wheeled loaders (or making changes to them), you should review your workplace transport risk assessments to ensure they will be safe to use in your environment and in the way that you intend to use them.

Some key considerations include:

  • Ensuring rigorous segregation between pedestrians and vehicles. Review the site layout, barriers, one-way systems, and other measures to ensure they give the best segregation of vehicles and pedestrians
  • Critically assess the visibility and consider fitting additional mirrors, cameras etc if necessary.
  • Ensure that interchangeable equipment, e.g. larger capacity buckets, is suitable for the vehicle.
  • Where modifications reduce forward visibility, consider what additional aids can be fitted to help the driver and what additional risk controls can be implemented to protect pedestrians.
  • Ensure drivers are trained and competent to drive the vehicles they will use taking into account any adaptations such as fitting oversized buckets or additional visibility aids
  • Monitoring compliance with site rules e.g. by using CCTV and supervisors and enforce the rules

Full details of the safety notice and the HSE’s recommendations can be found at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/wheeled-loading-shovels.htm