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Enabling a Better Working World

Enabling a better Working World

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What the law says

The loading and securing of goods on vehicles, their transport, and their unloading, falls under two areas of law in the UK: road traffic legislation and workplace safety legislation.

Broadly speaking, you should:

  • Make sure the load is secured to the vehicle so it can't cause a danger or nuisance to anyone
  • Risk assess the transport process and take reasonably practicable steps to reduce risk
  • Have a safe system of work for loading and unloading vehicles
  • Make sure everyone has the information and training they need to do their job

Road traffic legislation

Regulation 40A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 introduced by the Road Traffic Act 1991 says:

A Person is guilty of an offence if he uses, or causes or permits another to use, a motor vehicle or trailer on a road when:

a) the condition of the motor vehicle or trailer, or of its accessories or equipment, or

b) the purpose for which it is used, or

c) the number of passengers carried by it, or the manner in which they are carried, or

d) the weight, position or distribution of its load, or the manner in which it is secured,

is such that the use of the motor vehicle or trailer involves a danger of injury to any person.[A1] 

Regulation 100 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 - SI 1986 No 1078 says:

1. A motor vehicle, every trailer drawn thereby and all parts and accessories of such vehicle and trailer shall at all times be in such condition … and the weight, distribution, packing and adjustment of the load of such vehicle and trailer shall at all times be such that no danger is caused or is likely to be caused to any person in or on the vehicle or trailer or on a road.

2. The load carried by a motor vehicle or trailer shall at all times be so secured, if necessary by physical restraint other than its own weight, and be in such a position, that neither danger nor nuisance is likely to be caused to any person or property by reason of the load or any part thereof falling or being blown from the vehicle or by reason of any other movement of the load or any part thereof in relation to the vehicle.

Workplace safety legislation

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 says:

General duties of employers to their employees.

2. (1) It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of an employer's duty under the preceding subsection, the matters to which that duty extends include in particular

● the provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health;

● arrangements for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances;

● the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;

● so far as is reasonably practicable as regards any place of work under the employer's control, the maintenance of it in a condition that is safe and without risks to health and the provision and maintenance of means of access to and egress from it that are safe and without such risks;

● the provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.

Operators also have duties to people not employed by them:

General duties of employers and self-employed to persons other than their employees.

(1) It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.

(2) It shall be the duty of every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.

(3) In such cases as may be prescribed, it shall be the duty of every employer and every self-employed person, in the prescribed circumstances and in the prescribed manner, to give to persons (not being his employees) who may be affected by the way in which he conducts his undertaking the prescribed information about such aspects of the way in which he conducts his undertaking as might affect their health or safety.

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