The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) Agriculture and Food Team (AFT) has announced a programme of workplace transport inspections focused on the food industry. The inspections are being undertaken as part of the HSENI industry wide ‘Drive Danger Out’ campaign which began this month and are set to continue until March 2024.
The local food industry employs over 25,000 people across a huge variety of sub-sectors including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables, drinks, and bakeries. The sector is already highly regulated with very stringent requirements under food safety, hygiene, environmental and health and safety legislation.
HSENI Principal Inspector (AFT) Camilla Mackey said: “Workplace transport management is absolutely critical in all industries, that applies equally in the food processing sector.
“Some of the more common causes of injury in the food sector include injuries sustained from using knives to slips, trips and falls, however, most of the injuries sustained in these incidents are less serious compared to those involving workplace transport, for example, which usually result in very serious injury or death.
“Our Inspectors frequently find that most food processors do have some form of traffic management plans in place, unfortunately these are not always adequate. Common failings include lack of control of contractors’ safety, issues with parking of staff and visitors directly on the site, and not having in place very simple control measures such as good signage and appropriate lighting.”
The HSENI industry wide workplace transport safety campaign ‘Drive Danger Out’ was launched in September this year.
Camilla Mackey added: “Part of our ‘Drive Danger Out’ campaign will help inform the food industry of the necessary workplace transport management plans they need to have in place to help prevent future incidents.”
Typically, an inspection will consider:
- Is there a traffic management plan and associated risk assessments in place for the site?
- Are pedestrians and vehicles adequately segregated?
- Has the traffic management plan and associated risk assessments been shared and agreed with all contractors?
- How is parking managed at the site?
- Are all vehicles adequately maintained by a competent person?
- Have all relevant vehicles been thoroughly examined by a competent person?
- Are daily checks undertaken on vehicles and recorded?
- Are reported defects dealt with promptly?
- Do drivers hold adequate licenses/training certificates for the vehicles they are authorised to drive?
- Is there a program of refresher training in place?
- If new employee’s hold adequate training certification for vehicles on site is this checked, and their competency assessed prior to operating vehicles on your site?
Companies have a statutory requirement to regularly review their risk assessments to ensure that their control measures are sufficient to keep everyone on their site safe at work.
Where HSENI inspectors identify breaches of health and safety legislation enforcement action may be taken.
For more information on workplace transport safety visit: www.hseni.gov.uk/workplacetransport