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Workplace Safety Outside The Building – Part Two
In part one of this blog, I discussed how important health and safety was before a person went inside the premises. The starting point has to be outside a building, in this blog I will give some guidance and recommendations on what to assess when carrying out a risk assessment outside the building. In my years of experience it is the one area where a risk assessment is not always undertaken. This is changing as more businesses realise that protecting personnel and visitors starts outside, up to the boundary of the premises.
The two pieces of legislation that are considered are:
1. Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 which sets out a duty of care on employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees whilst they are at work.
2. The Management of Health and Safety at work Regulations 1999: Regulation 3 states that every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of:
- the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and
- the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking
Boundary Health and Safety
The assessment of risk should cover the boundary of the premises where personnel or visitors may be at risk. This starts at the fence lines and works up to the actual building area outside. As a business owner you may lease a property from a landlord. You are still responsible for the safety of personnel and visitors and you need to check with the contract that exists with the landlord what areas they will maintain and what areas are your responsibility. It will always be your responsibility to check that the landlord has done what they state they will do in the contract.
Contract with Landlord
Example: the contract with the landlord may state that it is the responsibility of the landlord to maintain the lighting in the car park. You need to check that this has been done and if you find lighting is inadequate then communicate this to the landlord in a formal manner.
The starting point for maintaining health and safety outside the building is conducting a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. Ensure a suitably qualified competent person carries out the risk assessment. A competent person has the necessary training, experiences and knowledge in conducting a risk assessment.
Segregation for pedestrians and vehicles
In this blog we will review one aspect of the risk assessment, which I believe is one of the highest risk areas, namely, segregation of pedestrians and vehicles to ensure they do not come into contact.
Drivers of vehicles of all types may park at different points outside the premises, whether this is personnel working in the premises or deliveries and collection of stock and other items. Communication is vital with the drivers of all these vehicles. The use of signage to give direction and guidance on where to park and where not to park is crucial. The business should ensure that there are correct safety signs in place which convey the right message, at different points around the route to prevent confusion. The correct signs indicating the speed and the direction of movement of all vehicles should be displayed to ensure all drivers are clear about they should be driving.
Use demarcation lines in suitable places to highlight safe routes for the driver. Demarcation line marking can define the walkways with Lines, Cross Hatching, Zebra Crossings, Chevrons, Arrows and Walking People. Incorporating contrasting colours to highlight and identify the safe routes to take.
Wearing personal protective equipment such as safety shoes and high visibility clothing in areas where there is vehicle movement, will highlight a pedestrian to any driver during work activities, such as loading and unloading of deliveries and collections.
Generic and Specific outside hazards
In my next blog on outside safety I will give guidance and recommendations on other generic and specific outside hazards such as lighting, ground and slippery conditions caused by adverse weather.
References – Further Information
If you would like more information advice about the safe management of workplace transport can be found on the HSE website at:
Further information of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 can be found on at:
Sally Beck RGN, BSc (Hons), MSc, CMIOSH – QCS Expert Health and Safety Contributor