How do you prevent occupational accidents in the transport sector?

The transport sector is one of growth and innovation, but also of risks and incidents: it invariably occupies the top of the sectors with the most occupational accidents. Only the construction sector scores worse. What causes these many accidents and how do you prevent them?

Employees in the transport sector often carry out risky activities: they work at high altitudes, load and unload heavy weights, operate machinery, and so on. The possibility of something going wrong from time to time, therefore, cannot be ruled out completely. However, as an employer, you can take measures to limit the risks.

Which accidents are most frequent?

One transport job is not the same as another, so the risks involved are also very diverse. However, some incidents occur more frequently than others. We dived into our own figures and listed the most common serious accidents.

  1. The employee falls from a height, for example, from a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) or bus.
  2. The employee loses control of a means of transport, such as a pallet truck or an HGV.
  3. The employee is hit by an object, for example, the load hanging from a crane. 
  4. The employee loses control of an object they are carrying or handling, for example, when manually loading or unloading an HGV.
  5. An object falls from a height on the worker, like the top box from a stack of boxes in an HGV.

Not surprisingly, ‘falling from a height’ occupies the first place in the list. A falling accident can happen anywhere – even in the office – but when employees are standing on top of an HGV or tanker in an incident like this, the consequences can be much more serious.

In addition, incidents in which an employee loses control of a vehicle, for example, due to inappropriate speed or distractions, or accidents with objects – for example, loss of cargo – occur regularly.

What are the causes of these accidents?

There are also clear trends in the causes of the accidents. One or more of the following factors are regularly at the root of the problem.

  • No risk analysis has been carried out.
  • There are no clear instructions or procedures, they are insufficiently followed by employees, or there is insufficient supervision of compliance.
  • Problems with the working method, such as incorrect posture, incorrect loading and unloading, or speeding.
  • Problems with the workplace or infrastructure, such as too small a workspace or defective equipment

Working together to prevent accidents in the transport sector

In order to monitor the safety of transport employees, a risk analysis is the first step in any case. But clear guidelines, a correct working method,and adapted material are also crucial to keep accidents to a minimum. 

But it isn’t all up to you as an employer; your employees also have to do their bit. After all, preventing occupational accidents is a shared responsibility: you provide the necessary means and guidelines, while employees follow the agreed rules and working methods as closely as possible. This is how you work together to build a safe transport sector.