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Construction Site Safety - Selection of Vehicle Drivers

Whilst they may not travel anywhere near as fast as an ordinary road car, the vehicles that move about on a construction site are likely to be much bigger and heavier, meaning that they pose just as much of a risk to the health and safety of both the driver and the other people on site. These vehicles include excavators, tipper trucks, bulldozers, and many other pieces of heavy plant equipment. Colliding directly with a person or with a structure such as scaffolding or a fuel storage tank can result in death or serious injuries being sustained. Similarly, reckless or inappropriate driving of the vehicles can pose a risk to the driver and any passengers of the vehicle itself if it is involved in a collision or it rolls/tips over for example through excessive speed when cornering.

The risks and potential serious consequences on safety and health mean that driving a vehicle on a construction site is a serious responsibility and should not be bestowed on just anyone. Whilst only those who have had suitable training on the safe operation of the vehicle should be allowed to drive/operate it, their must also be stringent selection criteria to ensure that people who are not suitable to be trusted with such equipment are not allowed to drive it.

This selection criteria will often vary slightly depending upon the particular vehicle and the nature of the site itself, but there are a number of common traits. One is the age of the worker. Whilst it is a large generalisation and certainly not always true, younger workers are likely to be less careful and more reckless when driving a vehicle. Whether this is due to inexperience or trying to show off or 'prove something' to others on the site, younger workers may take more risks such as driving too fast or showing off to their friends. It may also be the case that the vehicle may need to be driven on a public road, in which case driving legislation with minimum age regulations will apply so that only those over a certain age are legally allowed to drive the vehicle anyway.

Along with a person's age and their mentality/trustworthiness, their physical condition is also an important consideration when selecting or allowing someone to drive a vehicle on site. The driver needs to have good mobility to enable them to see properly when manoeuvring, as well as being able to easily get in/on the vehicle, or, perhaps more importantly, out/off it in the event of an accident. Just as it is a requirement for driving on a public road, good eyesight is essential for a site vehicle driver as they need to be able to see potential hazards ahead whilst they have enough space and time to take action such as making an emergency stop, not to mention being able to accurately gauge distances whilst driving and performing manoeuvres. Good hearing can also be crucial to enable drivers to hear warnings or instructions whilst they drive.

Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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