Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

London Lorries: Four Fatalities in 2015 is Far Too Many
Posted by David Cant on May 28, 2015

London Lorries: Four Fatalities in 2015 is Far Too Many

industry warning signsRecently a woman in her 30s became the fourth cyclist this year to die after colliding with a lorry on London’s roads. The event is a sobering reminder to take stock of our health and safety practices for managing traffic around construction sites.

A tragic accident

The event in question occurred during a morning rush hour in February in London’s Victoria. A dumper turned left at an intersection without seeing a cyclist on the inside.

The fatality has caused some campaigners to question whether construction vehicles should be taken off London’s roads entirely. With the number of ongoing development projects across the city, this may prove an unfeasible solution. And yet, with four cyclists killed by lorries in the space of only seven weeks, something clearly needs to be done.

Reflect, don’t blame

The unfortunate truth is that workplace fatality is more common than it ought to be. An even sadder truth is that, in light of such tragedy, some groups tend to push blame rather than soberly reflect on their own practices.

To react to events like these by asking who was at fault is not a constructive response. Rather, ask yourself, “Is my organisation doing everything possible to avoid a similar accident?”

The vital role of risk management

Accidents are, by their very nature, unpredictable. However, good risk identification and assessment can reduce the likelihood of an accident. In many cases, best practice risk management can eliminate hazards entirely.

You must take steps to ensure that all reasonably foreseeable risks related to your business are monitored and controlled. The law considers the management of a construction group to have as much duty of care as their drivers. It is simply not good enough to expect your employees to drive carefully if their environment or training does not support them.

What does the law say?

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations lay out guidelines for vehicles in Section 27.

The regulations are common sense:

  • Vehicles should be driven in a safe manner.
  • If the movement of a vehicle puts another person at risk, the vehicle operator must give adequate warning to that person.
  • Vehicles should be loaded in a way that allows for safe movement.

Having said that, the overarching requirement of health and safety law is that employers conduct their business in a way that ensures, as far as reasonably possible, that the public is not put at risk of harm. So what are some ways to do that?

Practical steps

Whilst not an exhaustive list, here are some actions that should be considered the absolute minimum in handling vehicle safety on and around your site.

  • Ensure you have a thorough traffic management plan.
  • Ensure your drivers are correctly licensed and trained.
  • Maintain your vehicles in good order.
  • Pay attention to mirror placement, and train your drivers to recognise their blind spots.
  • Assess your site for visual obstructions such as blind corners or high fences, and manage these hazards in an appropriate manner.
  • Avoid placing your drivers under unreasonable deadlines, and allow them enough time to drive point-to-point safely.
  • Consider hiring a professional construction health and safety consultant.

Even one death on our roads is too many. Let’s take the time to ensure our practices are up-to-scratch so we can avoid further fatalities.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

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