Keywords: Safety, Road transport, Sheeting guidelines
The paper considers the risks associated with the sheeting/unsheeting and securing of payloads on flatbed road vehicles, and presents approaches to minimise such risks.
An employer has some responsibility in law to their employees and persons not in their employment but working in their undertaking, for the health, safety and welfare.
Injuries to persons as a result of falls from flatbed road vehicles are a cause for concern and efforts must continue to be made to minimise their occurrence. Six such accidents have occurred at Kemira Agro UK Limited, Ince, Chester, since April 1992 — about 1 in 50,000 operations at Ince. A similar incident rate can be expected elsewhere and in other industrial / commercial operations.
Common sheeting practice requires the driver to climb onto the vehicle deck and subsequently onto the load. A risk assessment highlights the actions that will give rise to a risk or enhance a risk.
Five approaches have been considered for minimising the risks associated with sheeting and securing a payload on a flatbed vehicle. Two particular solutions are described:
a) The use of devices fitted to the flatbed to facilitate placement of a light-weight sheet over the payload from ground level.
b) The use of the light-weight sheet and a vehicle-mounted sheet support table which enables the sheet to be placed over a single layer of bags without the driver going onto the vehicle deck or payload.
The paper discusses briefly the development work being undertaken by Kemira to mechanise the sheeting/unsheeting of stacks of fertiliser, primarily to reduce the risks associated with doing this work manually. The legislation applicable to flatbed transport is equally applicable to these operations and the risks are very similar. The sheeting and unsheeting of stacks of fertiliser up to about 4 metres high is extensively carried out at Ince and to improve safety and reduce sheeting costs it was decided to attempt to mechanise the operations, and a project was approved for this purpose.
Ed Sharp, Kemira Agro UK Ltd, Ince, Chester, Cheshire, UK
32 pages, 1 table, 4 figures, 18 plates.