Internal traffic and transfer of goods in workplaces
A considerable percentage of occupational accidents are related to traffic and goods handling. Well-planned internal traffic systems and goods handling procedures are vital for preventing occupational accidents.
Any vehicular and pedestrian access routes in a workplace must be clearly marked. Other safety signage must also be provided as necessary. Loading bays and ramps, for example, must be clearly marked.
Vehicular and pedestrian traffic must be kept separate
To make it safe for employees to move around, the first rule is to ensure the safety of all access routes, passageways, floors, staircases and work surfaces and to maintain good order and cleanliness in the workplace.
It is the employer’s responsibility to reserve enough space for traffic and to provide clearly signposted, separate, safe and practical routes for vehicles and pedestrians.
Special attention must be given to the safety of employees who work in the immediate vicinity of streets, roads and other vehicular routes. Vehicular routes must have sufficient visibility. In addition, sufficient space must be provided for all access routes, staircases, doors and gates, and safe routes for pedestrians.
Traffic rules help to increase safety
It is the employer’s duty to draw up internal traffic rules for the workplace if necessary. The need for internal traffic rules can be determined in the course of the risk assessment process. The assessment must take into consideration the nature of the work performed in the workplace and the volume and nature of traffic and the goods transported there.
The more internal traffic, different kinds of vehicles, machinery and equipment as well as goods in need of transport there are in a workplace, the more important it is to have an efficient traffic system in place. It is the employer’s responsibility to familiarise both their employees and any persons visiting the facilities with the traffic rules and to ensure that the rules are observed in practice.
Goods must be handled using safe equipment
Employers are responsible for planning and providing their employees with safe ways to lift, transport, store, handle and load goods in the workplace. This includes, among other things, ensuring that any lifting equipment and assistive devices provided for employees are in good working order and suitable for the work in question in terms of, for example, lifting capacity. Loads must always be properly secured, and there must be enough space to lift and move loads around. The danger zones around or underneath any load that is being moved must be kept clear of other employees.