Fleets urged to implement safe reversing strategies following recent HSE case
So says risk management specialist Interactive Driving Systems following a recent HSE case in which a Preston-based building firm was fined £130k by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the death of a worker who was struck by a reversing van.
The incident took place outside a cinema in Ashton-on-Ribble when father-of-one Carl Green was struck by a reversing van in a paved area outside the entrance to the Odeon Cinema on 27th July 2010.
In response, Interactive Driving Systems has said that the incident was totally avoidable and has stressed that the firm should have been using a safe reversing and backing policy.
Research by Interactive Driving Systems based on 80,000 fleet collisions has found that reversing or backing incidents are not only one of the top five collision types encountered by most organisations, but they also have high potential for asset damage and injury to bystanders.
Of the 79,403 motor fleet insurance claims analysed, the firm said 13% involved reversing/backing. This increased to 15% for light commercial vehicles, and 19% for heavier commercial vehicles.
After reviewing a great deal of such fleet collision data over many years, Andy Cuerden from Interactive Driving Systems said: ‘Because of the relatively low impact speed, many people don’t regard reversing as a significant hazard.
‘However, reversing/backing and slow speed manoeuvring incidents make up a large proportion of fleet collision costs and risks.
‘We believe that all drivers must exercise greater care when reversing/backing, especially fleet drivers visiting customer sites and homes as part of their daily activities.’
‘Whether you are travelling forward at 100 miles per hour on a highway or reversing/backing at walking pace on a customer’s site, the same vigilance, caution and courtesy must apply.’
All drivers are being encouraged to adopt the following tips for safe reversing/backing:
- Walk around the vehicle and look for obstacles or hazards before moving. Always beware of pedestrians, but especially children. They are unpredictable!
- Reverse slowly – turn your head, use your mirrors and check both sides. Avoid reversing over a long distance.
- Look behind before reversing – not as you take off.
- When reversing and turning remember to watch the front of your car as well.
- If towing a trailer, practice reversing with the trailer in a safe location.
- Where possible, reverse or “pull through” into parking spaces rather than out of them.
Fleets are also being urged to play their part through actions including:
- Analysing the number of reversing collisions.
- Carrying out reversing risk assessments.
- Assessing site procedures and operations for areas of improvement
- Looking at vehicle reversing aids.
- Making sure staff are properly trained on reversing procedures.