Low-Speed Vehicle Run Overs can happen to Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime. Any workplace can have danger zones, from coming or going in the office car park, to working amongst heavy machinery on a construction site.
Each workplace should be aware of what liabilities may be an issue and should have policies and procedures in place to ensure everyone stays safe.
Circle of Safety
A Circle of Safety is a very simple activity that could help save someone’s life- simply by walking around the vehicle, or taking the long way around to the driver’s door, before you get in to drive. This way you can check if anyone or anything is in the way (as well as checking for possible damage, flat tyres, lights not working), before your vehicle moves.
A Circle of Safety can be done anywhere, at any time you are going to get in a vehicle to drive. Whether on the construction zone of a new section of road, in the carpark at the shopping centre, or in your driveway at home.
Always check, before you get in and drive.
The RED ZONE
The Red Zone concept was put together by Downer employees and introduced across their workforce in 2016 as part of a series of safety stand-down days.
The Red Zone is an area of a minimum of 10 metres separation between plant/vehicles and persons on foot in the possible direction of travel. This is simply a zone in front of, and behind, any moving plant/vehicles, that people must not enter while that plant/vehicle is moving. The idea is to eliminate any unwanted interaction between people and plant/vehicles, to reduce the risk of an accident happening.
The Red Zone can be put into action whenever you are around vehicles- whether at home, at work, or out and about- when a vehicle is moving make sure you are not in the Red Zone! If you are the driver, make sure no one is in your vehicle’s Red Zone, before you start moving the vehicle.
Red Zone procedures include:
1: Plant operator to ensure the RED ZONE is always clear of persons on foot:
- Ask yourself, “Do I need a spotter?”
- Stop if a person on feet enters the RED ZONE.
2: If you have to approach the moving plant:
- From outside the RED ZONE, establish contact and get acknowledgement from the operator (e.g. a wave, nod, radio)
- Wait, do not approach plant until it is stationary.
3: NEVER Assume:
- Communicate– ask the operator if you need to approach.
- Communicate– tell the person on foot when it is safe to approach.
Communicate– agree when it is safe to resume work.
Workers on construction zones are especially vulnerable, with large machinery operating on and moving around the worksite. Policies and procedures for activities to occur safely is a must.
Toolbox talks each morning to discuss changes or issues so that everyone is aware of the day’s planned activities, and catching up new-comers, for example new contractors, with the safety routines, is vitally important.
Whether you are the driver of a vehicle or operating machinery, or a supervisor or worker on foot, you must always be alert and aware of what is happening around you.
Safety measures at work are in place to ensure we get home safely to the ones we care about most, at the end of each day.
Does your company have fleet vehicles? Do the drivers remember to do their ‘circle of safety’ before they get in to drive?
Technology including reversing cameras and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) are becoming more and more common across all vehicles.
Such technology is a great tool, but these tools are only as good as the user- education of drivers is key!
It is so important to remember there is no technology should replace an ALERT driver!
For Tradies and Builders
The statistics show small children under five years are the most vulnerable, especially around the home – where we are most relaxed and where we think they are safest.
As tradesmen and builders, you can make a difference by putting the physical barriers to vehicle areas in place- creating safer homes and driveways.
Consider the following when designing and constructing new homes and units, and renovations, especially those with attached garages.
Something to think about: Houses are generally built to last, and may have more than one or two owners over time- this client may think they do not need such measures, but the next owner of the house may have children…(as well as the grandchildren, other family or friends who come to visit.) With this in mind- do we have a duty of care towards families, by builders, to have such inclusions in our building work? Legislation for the building industry requires us to provide for construction of safe residences.
Home and garage designLayout: if possible keep attached garages away from kitchen/living/rumpus room type areas, where children would be likely to spend most of their time. Access door between house and garage: consider an
- inward-swinging, solid-core door (so that it will swing shut properly, and children cannot push the door open into the garage),
- with a door handle at a minimum height of 1500mm (so toddlers cannot reach)
- and with a self-closer.
When yourself or workers go out to a domestic job, what is the company policy regarding where the vehicle is parked: in the driveway or in the street?
Do you or your staff conduct a ‘Circle of Safety’ before they get in and drive any company vehicle?
What’s the company policy on reversing cameras and rear braking systems for fleet vehicles?
These tools are useful not just in everyday driving but on the worksite too, and could help avoid accidents.
Is it practical to fence the driveway, or at least have a safe fenced off area out the back where children can play, away from areas where vehicles are moved around the property?
Australian Driveway design guidelines
A public consultation paper and report on Driveway Design Guidelines was released late 2013 by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport. The voluntary document is based on 6 broad principles listed here, and includes a variety of suggestions for builders to consider when designing and constructing residential properties.
- Recognise the vehicle areas on the property as a risk zone (garage to street).
- Limit the size of vehicle areas, and the speed and number of vehicles accessing them.
- Reduce unintended access to vehicle areas by young children.
- Make vehicle areas and their surrounds clearly visible from inside the house.
- Make vehicles areas and their surrounds clearly visible to drivers leaving and entering the property.
- Increase visibility for both pedestrians and drivers at the junction between the driveway/garage and the footpath.