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A vehicle should be fully equipped for a lone driver to perform any manoeuvre safely. This is easy today. Anything less is unacceptable”

Urged to fit modern safety equipment following a call to make wellbeing of workers a ‘top priority’

Operators willing to heed a national call for workers’ wellbeing to be a ‘top priority’ should first ensure they equip workplace vehicles with readily available safety systems

SteerSafe, which is represented by key members of the transport industry including veteran safety campaign Chris Hanson-Abbott OBE, spoke out after the Health and Safety Executive called on operators to prioritise worker-safety in 2015.

Official figures reveal that one of the top three hazards at work is failing to manage workplace transport safety correctly. Others include falling from heights and failure properly to maintain and protect against dangerous equipment.

Hanson-Abbott, who has been involved in road safety for nearly 40 years, and who launched the 1980s National Reverse in Safety Campaign, said: “Four decades after I first started campaigning accidents still happen.

“I am shocked at the hazards posed by a moving Commercial Vehicle. Slow speed manoeuvering is the prime cause. A comprehensive range of safety systems is available off the shelf yet only a rear-view mirror is required by law. And try seeing the blind area behind a truck with one of those” he scoffed. “And what about all those other blind-spots?” he added.

“There will always be cowboy operators who refuse to pay for safety unless a system is required specifically by law. But the law is long out of date. Hence operators serious about safety feel obliged to fit extra safety equipment to cover those hazard areas not addressed by the regulations while the cowboys get a cost advantage at the expense of the conscientious.

“Government shirks its responsibility to regulate where slow-speed manoeuvering is concerned. It is absurd to assume, for example, that a trained banksman will always be available when a reversing manoeuvre is necessary. A vehicle should be fully equipped for a lone driver to perform any manoeuvre safely. This is easy today. Anything less is unacceptable” said Hanson-Abbott

SteerSafe is much wider in scope than Hanson-Abbott’s earlier National Reverse-in-Safety Campaign. SteerSafe covers all dangerous blind-spot manoeuvres, not just reversing. These include the mortally dangerous long-vehicle left turn with an unseen cyclist on the nearside.

SteerSafe is calling for all Commercial Vehicles to be equipped with safety equipment appropriate to their use both on or off the road.

Hanson-Abbott explained: “As the Health & Safety at Work Act stands operators are in trouble should a deficiency of safety equipment lead to personal injury. A purely re-active role would become irrelevant were the Health & Safety Executive to pro-actively demand up-front that operators cover areas judged by the HSE to be hazardous.

“Better prevention before the event than retribution after it.

“And the way to do that is to give the HSE increased powers and responsibility to define hazard areas and demand that operators make safety interventions. as specified by their HSE inspector as a condition of their operating licence.”

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Editor’s Note: for further information contact Celeste Clarke at Century PR on 024 76 228881 or email celeste@centurypr.co.uk.

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