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Traffic Incident Statistics

The most common cause of fatal workplace accidents

It is sometimes necessary for workers to be in places where they are at risk of injury from vehicles and unfortunately preventable accidents still happen.

When they do, lost man hours lead to a slow-down in productivity, impacting on production targets and delivery schedules. But more crucially traffic incidents can be fatal. This has a devastating impact on family, friends and colleagues and huge consequences for the business concerned.

Traffic Injury Statistics

Vehicles on work premises continue to cause serious and fatal injuries. Every year there are over 2,500 RIDDOR incidents involving transport in the workplace and being struck by a vehicle is one of the most common causes of fatal workplace accidents. Accidents often involve pedestrians being struck by forklift trucks or reversing lorries whose drivers are unaware of pedestrians nearby.

Fatality and Injury Statistics

Over the last five years 19% of all workplace fatalities were as a result of workers being struck by a moving vehicle (26 deaths per year). In Ireland, vehicles are involved in half of all work-related deaths reported to the HSA each year. Incidents occur across a wide range of industries including agriculture, manufacturing, mining, waste management, construction, transport and services.

Hundreds more workers are left with life-changing injuries. In 2019-20 there were 1,483 people injured in accidents involving vehicles at work, the majority needing more than 7 days sickness absence.

Firefighter wearing PPE breaking a vehicle windscreen at the scene of an incident

In addition, 44 members of the public are killed each year, primarily during transportation of goods. In the railway industry fatality risk when working near the running line/infrastructure is dominated by the hazards associated with working in close proximity to moving trains.

Forklift Truck Statistics

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that lift trucks are involved in a quarter of all workplace transport accidents. Every day, five workers in the UK are hospitalised as a result of lift truck accidents, with devastating results for those involved. Injuries suffered include amputations, dislocations, complex fractures and worse.

The majority of those affected are workers on foot, such as warehouse operatives. Nearly 75% of 'impact with a third person' events involve pedestrians that were completing tasks unrelated to the immediate truck operation when the accident happened.

Forklift being driven by someone wearing a hi-vis vest loading a pallet onto a curtain-sided lorry

Uncomfortable Working Environments

The term 'thermal comfort' describes a person's psychological state of mind as a result of how hot or cold they feel. There aren't any statistics available to know the scale of the issue, but it's recognised that people working in uncomfortably hot or cold environments are more likely to behave unsafely because their ability to make decisions and perform manual tasks deteriorates.

An independent field study has shown absence rates decreased significantly amongst construction workers wearing GORE-TEX clothing compared with those wearing conventional workwear. On average those wearing GORE-TEX clothing took 1.5 fewer days sick leave over the six-month study.

Man in hi-vis jacket and trousers on a glass building construction site, cherry picker behind

The Costs of Workplace Injuries

By protecting employees, you can be sure they can work efficiently whilst minimising exposure to traffic hazards. Workplace transport injuries are sadly likely to be fatal, so the costs of not implementing adequate vehicle and pedestrian control measures are huge and devastating for family, friends and colleagues.

As well as satisfying your legal responsibilities, taking the health and safety of employees seriously makes good business sense.

What are the Costs?

On average one non-fatal injury costs employers £5,000. This cost is made up of lost productivity, health and rehabilitation, admin and legal costs and injury compensation payments. A forklift being out of action affects warehouse throughput and so both upstream and downstream operations. For traffic incidents the purchase of new equipment is often a big cost for companies.

Outside the workplace, the HSE estimates costs arising from 'at-work' road traffic accidents are in the region of £2.7 billion per year.


Examples of Traffic Incidents

The fines and damages to help compensate can run into seven figures. A Veolia ES employee was run over by a reversing refuse collection vehicle whilst he was walking across the waste transfer yard in 2013. The company was fined £1 million and ordered to pay costs of £130,000.

In 2017, Moy Park food company was ordered to pay £878,300 in fines and costs after a yardman suffered injuries resulting in amputation of his leg due to inadequate segregation of people and vehicles in the yard.

Two refuse workers wearing hi-vis vests loading bins onto the back of a refuse truck

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Recommended Products

We sell a wide range of hi-vis clothing to suit all budgets and applications to ensure your employees can always be seen. We have it all, from premium quality GORE-TEX® to Arco Essentials; from waterproof jackets to polo shirts; flame resistant yellow hi-vis to railway approved orange hi-vis, for both women and men, plus branding options and a bespoke design service.

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