Last reviewed 26 October 2021

Widely used in the waste and recycling sector, wheeled loading shovels have been involved in nine fatal vehicle-pedestrian collisions in the past four years. Six of these occurred in the waste and recycling sector, with the remainder when moving wood chip.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a safety notice, having identified issues of poor visibility caused by the bucket and load, the engine at the rear and the cab pillars, significantly reducing the drivers’ ability to see pedestrians and, to a lesser extent, other vehicles.

The notice, which can be found at www.hse.gov.uk, reminds dutyholders of the need to fully assess and actively manage the risk of vehicle-pedestrian collisions.

Regulation 4 of The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) requires machinery to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used. This also applies if the equipment is adapted, for example by fitting a larger bucket.

Manufacturers and other specialist suppliers have attempted to address the problem by adding “visibility slots” or mesh at the top of buckets, but evidence from investigations suggests these are ineffective when the bucket is in the carry position or obscured by the load.

Camera systems have been under development for some time, the HSE notes, but their effectiveness remains unproven and they are not widely available.

The head of HSE’s Waste and Recycling team, Principal Inspector of Health and Safety Tim Small, said: “Currently, the only effective control measure is strict segregation of vehicles and pedestrians. If you cannot ensure that segregation, you should not use larger capacity buckets or wheeled loaders, but employ alternative work methods such as using different machinery and/or site management arrangements.”