Safety alert 5/2014 - Vehicles hitting or crushing workers

There have recently been fatal and serious incidents in Western Australia in which a driver has reached into a vehicle from the outside to start the engine.

The purpose of this alert is to raise awareness of the risks associated with starting and parking vehicles when an operator is not in full control of the vehicle. 

Contributing factors

Some of the contributing factors related to these incidents include:

  • Failing to adequately secure or immobilise the vehicle, such as not applying the handbrake at the time of parking.
  • Leaving the vehicle in gear when starting.
  • Drivers starting vehicles from outside the cab.
  • Lack of consideration given to nearby vehicles or pedestrians in the vicinity during parking.

Action required

  1. Employers should consider implementing safe systems for start-up and parking of vehicles.
  2. When parking a vehicle, persons need to ensure that the engine is turned off, the key is removed and the parking brake is fully engaged.
  3. The vehicle should not be left in gear when starting.
  4. Vehicles should not be started from outside the cab.
  5. It is recommended that employers consider measures such as park brake alarms and ignition interlock devices for work vehicles.
  6. Employers should conduct risk assessments to identify all risks associated with the use of workplace vehicles e.g. driving, parking and loading/unloading and consider the means by which the risks can be reduced as far as practicable.

Further information

Guidance note:  Safe movement of vehicles at workplaces

Last updated 22 Mar 2016

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