Slow Speed Manoeuvring training: an increasing concern for businesses

Slow Speed Manoeuvring training: an increasing concern for businesses

According to the Health and Safety Executive, almost a quarter all deaths involving vehicles at work occur during reversing.

And, while many reversing and other slow speed accidents may not result in any actual injuries, the cumulative costs resulting from vehicle downtime and repairs can often be the most costly element in the budget. This is becoming an issue of increasing importance, and here at Effective Transport Solutions, we’re finding that more and more fleet managers at organisations across the region are taking an interest in slow speed manoeuvring training.

So, in answer to this demand, we’re developing a module which focuses on this incredibly important aspect of driving. Our state-of-the-art training simulators are flexible and provide drivers with the chance to practice manoeuvres in a risk-free environment until they get them right (we can even programme our full size BMW Minis to be vans in order to increase the number of training scenarios available). This is a training package designed to save lives, reduce injuries and save companies money.

The issue of slow speed manoeuvring was thrust into the spotlight back in December 2014, when the largest local authority in the country, Birmingham City Council, was fined £10,000 with £1,887 costs after a refuse worker sustained leg injuries when he was trapped against a van by a reversing bin lorry.

The worker in question was lucky not to have sustained more serious injuries. This is an example which only highlights the importance of slow speed training.

So what can your organisation do to increase safety at slow speed? Enrolling staff members on some effective training is, of course, a good start. Here are some tips from the HSE which may also help:

  • Site layouts can be designed (or modified) to increase visibility for drivers and pedestrians, for example:
    • By increasing the area allowed for reversing.
    • By installing fixed mirrors in smaller areas.
  • Reducing the dangers caused by 'blind-spots':
    • Most vehicles already have external side-mounted and rear-view mirrors fitted. These need to be kept clean and in good repair.
    • Refractive lenses fitted to rear windows or closed-circuit television systems can be used to help drivers to see behind the vehicle.
    • If drivers cannot see behind the vehicle, they should leave their cab and check behind the vehicle before reversing.
  • Reversing alarms can be fitted:
    • These should be kept in working order.
    • Audible alarms should be loud and distinct enough that they do not become part of the background noise.
    • Where an audible alarm might not stand out from the background noise, flashing warning lights can be used.
  • Other safety devices can be fitted to vehicles:
    • For example, a number of 'sensing' and 'trip' systems are available, which either warn the driver or stop the vehicle when an obstruction is detected close to, or comes in contact with, the reversing vehicle.
  • Stops such as barriers, or buffers at loading bays can be used. They should be highly visible, and sensibly positioned.
  • White lines on the floor can help the driver position the vehicle accurately.

For more information on how driver training can cut costs, increase safety and boost environmental performance, visit the Effective Transport Solutions website.