Safety around your vehicle glove box guide
Safety around your vehicle glove box guide
About this guide
The transport industry is one of NSW’s highest risk industries.
Every year, too many workers are killed or injured in transport related activities.
Common causes of serious injury or death in the transport, postal and warehousing industry are:
- working at heights
- hazardous manual tasks
- being hit by moving objects
- trapped between stationary and moving objects
The Safety Around Your Vehicle (SAYV) Glove Box Guide (PDF, 1.23 MB) focuses on work, health and safety harms that relate to activities performed by a driver when the vehicle is not being driven on a public road e.g. loading and unloading in a distribution centre.
This guide has been developed as a result of consultation with industry representatives and stakeholders
Before you get into the vehicle
Your vehicle is your workplace, your safety starts before you enter a truck or vehicle.
You should be fit to drive, alert and capable of safely operating the vehicle and performing tasks in and around the vehicle (see section on Driver Health).
Each driver will need different skills and licences to safely and properly operate the variety of vehicles used in the transport industry.
Type of vehicle
- Do you hold the correct licence class to operate the vehicle?
- Do you hold the licences required to operate machinery and lifting equipment on the vehicle? e.g. high-risk work licences for vehicle-loading cranes and forklifts
- Have you received training and instruction on the safe operation of the vehicle and its equipment?
- Are you aware of work health and safety procedures related to the tasks you will be required to perform?
As a driver, you should:
- Always inspect the vehicle before starting any work
- Complete any required pre-start checklist and confirm the vehicle is safe and roadworthy
- Check the vehicle is equipped with appropriate equipment (e.g load restraints) and they are in good working order
- Check the vehicle has appropriate first aid supplies
- Visually inspect prime movers and trailers to confirm they are properly connected
- If fitted, visually inspect hydraulic systems and test the operation of the hydraulic system
- Check to ensure previously identified and reported maintenance issues have been actioned
- Have the contact details for approved repairers and roadside assistance in the vehicle (see breakdowns and unscheduled maintenance
- Wear appropriate PPE required for the tasks to be undertaken
- Document and report any safety or mechanical issues immediately to your supervisor and/or company representative.
Planning and scheduling
Your schedule should outline the routes and deliveries across the course of your shift. This will ensure appropriate time is allocated for you to safely perform required tasks and have adequate rest breaks.
If operating a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle, ensure daily work activities and rest periods are accurately recorded in accordance with legislative requirements.
For the definition of a 'fatigue-related heavy vehicle' visit the National heavy vehicle regulator website
To help you in the planning and scheduling process:
- Have the contact details for each site you are attending
- Confirm the location and point of onsite delivery and access in terms of vehicle weight, dimensions and type e.g. restricted access, oversize or over mass vehicles
- Comply with site specific rules, for example does the site require an induction prior to entry?
- All equipment and/or lifting devices required for loading and unloading should be available and ready for use
- If attending a remote or isolated location, ensure you have an effective means of communication.
You should review your schedule to:
- Ask any questions or raise any concerns with the supervisor/scheduler before you leave
- Confirm the delivery time prior to arrival when delivering to an allocated timeslot.
- Ensure your daily schedule allows for adequate meal and rest breaks.
Getting in and out of your vehicle
Many drivers are injured entering and exiting truck cabins.
Regularly check the side steps, grab handles and cabin area are in good condition and well maintained.
If the design of the vehicle’s access points increase your risk of injury, then let your employer know.
Avoid straining, over extending or rapid body movements to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injury when entering and exiting your vehicle.
Accessing your vehicle
When accessing your vehicle:
- Always establish three points of contact, face the cabin and use the appropriate grab handles
- Wear proper footwear with non-slip soles/tread. Like all PPE, footwear should be clean, in good condition and fit for purpose
- Check the vehicle step has a non-slip surface in good condition, and is not worn or damaged
- Take extra care in poor conditions, e.g. wet/raining conditions, strong winds or in low lighting
- Adjust the seat, steering wheel and other controls to improve driving posture and reduce stress and strain on the body.
Exiting Your Vehicle
When preparing to exit your vehicle:
- Park in a well-lit area on a flat, hard and level surface
- Immobilise your vehicle and properly apply the park brake
- Always establish three points of contact and face the cabin when exiting
- Do not jump from the truck cabin or side step.
Working around your vehicle
Vehicles should be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure they are safe and roadworthy.
As a driver, you should:
- Verify that a competent, licensed service provider is used to undertake vehicle maintenance and service records are up to date
- Advise the licenced service provider of any issues found in daily pre-start checks
- Confirm the licenced service provider has updated the vehicle maintenance records
- Review service records for manufacturers recommendations for inspections, maintenance and testing are followed
- Record and report maintenance issues that arise during your workday to your supervisor or company representative.
- Ensure you follow the safe systems of work developed and implemented for high-risk maintenance activities such as working under raised tipping bodies, tilting trays or tilted cabs.
Breakdowns and unscheduled maintenance
- Park the vehicle off the road in a designated parking bay, rest stop or other safe area.
- Turn on the vehicle’s hazard lights
- Immobilise the vehicle with the park brake
- Ensure high visibility clothing and PPE are worn
- Consider the use of wheel chocks if the vehicle is on a slope
- Where required, place cones or triangles around the vehicle
- Follow any company emergency and/or breakdowns procedure.
Unintentional vehicle movement (or roll-aways) have been responsible for several deaths in NSW.
To prevent yourself or others being killed or injured by a ‘roll-away’, you should:
- Ensure you have received adequate training and instruction on how to safely immobilise your vehicle
- Park the vehicle on a flat, level and hard surface
- Properly engage and apply the park brake
- Ensure the ignition is turned off and the keys are removed from the vehicle
- Use wheel chocks, where appropriate
- Not attempt to gain access to the vehicle, if the vehicle starts to roll.
Coupling and uncoupling trailers
It is important you receive adequate training and instruction in relation to coupling and uncoupling trailers.
When you are performing these tasks:
- Avoid unnecessary distractions (e.g. mobile phone use, other people) to keep focus on coupling and uncoupling processes
- Undertake a visual inspection of the area where the vehicle is to be parked
- Park the prime mover and trailer on a flat, level and hard surface in a safe location
- If it is dark, the area should have sufficient lighting
- Engage the park brake and ensure the vehicle is properly immobilised
- For a truck and trailer fitted with a kingpin and turntable, confirm the kingpin is locked into the turntable in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
- For a truck and trailer with a drawbar, eye and pin set up, confirm locking pins are secured in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
- Ensure a tug test is performed
- To reduce the risk of a fall, connect hoses from the ground where possible
- Avoid straining, over extending or rapid body movements to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injury when raising or lowering trailer landing legs.
Loading and unloading
Loading and unloading usually requires the interaction of people, vehicles and mobile plant. This can further increase the risk of injury or death to you as a driver.
To minimise these risks, you should:
- Locate the site coordinator or point of contact for the site
- Where required, ensure you have received an onsite induction
- Confirm the loading and unloading process for the site
- Ensure you understand the roles of relevant site personnel in the loading and unloading process
- Be aware of, and utilise the site’s communication systems
- Use correct PPE in accordance with your company, and any site specific requirements
- Identify site specific hazards e.g. power lines.
Site inductions provide valuable information about the risks and hazards at the location where you are working.
Take the time to understand what goes on at the site – your life, or someone else’s might depend on it.
Mobile, temporary or uncontrolled sites
The nature of these sites may present specific safety risks and hazards.
In the event of an incident, help or assistance may not be readily available.
- Obtain relevant site information before you arrive
- Always park safely and immobilise your vehicle
- Complete a risk assessment before loading or unloading any type of freight or load
- Consider the environmental conditions and surroundings e.g. weather conditions, lighting, terrain, other traffic and pedestrians
- Contact the relevant site controller or your company representative for further advice where you identify an issue or hazard
- Inform your company or other appropriate persons of your arrival, and when you are leaving an unstaffed location.
Loading and unloading of freight
The task of loading and unloading presents several risks and contributes to the serious injury and death of drivers each year.
You can manage the safety of yourself and others by ensuring that you:
- Park the vehicle on a flat, level and hard surface or in a designated loading area
- Park in an established loading/unloading exclusion zone where available or required (see section on Exclusion Zones)
- Consider establishing a temporary zone using mobile barriers, safety cones and temporary signage where no exclusion zones are present
- Confirm who will be loading or unloading the freight
- Check the load is secured correctly and all load restraints are in place and in good working order
- Load any freight as per an agreed load plan
- Check to see if the load has moved or shifted before releasing or removing straps or chains
- Use two hands and keep elbows close to body when opening and closing truck curtains
- Limit the need to manually lift truck gates, as they can be heavy and cumbersome
- Utilise fall prevention equipment if you are unable to secure the load from the ground level (see working at heights)
- Establish and maintain clear communication with other people involved in the loading and unloading task
- Maintain visual contact with any spotter and/or plant operator
- Restrain all loads in accordance with the National Transport Commission Load Restraint guide
- Are positioned in a nominated safe location if you are not involved in the loading or unloading process
- Establish and maintain clear communication with other people involved in the loading and unloading task
Hazardous Manual Tasks
When you are required to perform a manual task (such as handling freight, securing loads, handling gates, curtains etc.) there are certain risk factors that make the task hazardous and increase the risk of you getting a musculoskeletal injury.
- Repetitive or sustained use of force
- High or sudden force
- Repetitious movements
- Sustained or awkward posture
- Exposure to vibration
When you are doing any type of manual task that exposes you to the risk factors listed above, let your employer know and help them come up with ways to fix the problem.
You can reduce musculoskeletal injuries by:
- Reporting any pain or discomfort to your employer
- Taking regular breaks to reduce prolonged sitting and exposure to vibration when in the vehicle
- Delivering goods directly to the loading and unloading point to eliminate double handling
- Using mechanical lifting aids to unload large, heavy and bulky goods to avoid straining your body
- Using loading docks and mobile plant, where available.
Working at heights
To reduce the risk of injury or death as a result of falling from a height:
- Always use three points of contact and face the cabin and use the appropriate grab handles when getting in and out of the vehicle
- Perform work at ground level and take a ‘working from the ground’ approach when loading and unloading vehicles
- Reduce the need to work at heights by pre-configuring loads to facilitate the unloading process, taking into account the equipment to be used
- Always manage the risk of a fall by using work platforms, guardrail systems, or edge protection including barriers and handrails where working from the ground is not possible
- Only use work positioning systems (such as travel restraints and fall arrest systems) where other controls are not reasonably practicable
- Use load restraints that can be operated from the ground
- Consider the environmental conditions (e.g. severe weather, slippery loads) and their effect on the task you are carrying out.
A traffic management plan is designed to keep people, plant and product separated and safe.
- Every site should have a traffic management plan in place (including short term and mobile sites)
- Traffic management plans should include clearly marked loading zones, mobile plant zones, pedestrian areas, walkways and safe parking areas
- All workers should wear high visibility clothing and other PPE appropriate for the site (e.g. hard hats, safety shoes, face shields/masks, noise protection, non static clothing etc).
- Traffic management plans should be included as part of a site induction process
- When you arrive on site, identify your point of contact and clarify any site specific traffic management considerations
- Consider the volume and type of traffic when moving around the site
- Be aware of environmental factors including weather, visibility, lighting and noise
- Identify site specific infrastructure and utilities which may be a hazard e.g. power lines, drainage lines and excavations, and how they might impact your activities
- Report any traffic management issues directly to the controller of the site, and to your manager/supervisor.
An exclusion zone is used to keep people and plant separated.
An exclusion zone should be set up when tasks are performed around your vehicle. This includes loading and unloading, vehicle maintenance and other ancillary tasks.
- A designated exclusion zone should be available at permanent sites with clear, marked lines and adequate signage
- In the absence of a fixed exclusion zone, one can be set up using mobile barriers, safety cones and temporary signage
- When creating an exclusion zone, consider:
- the size of the area required for the task to be performed
- the product to be unloaded or loaded
- movement of traffic and people blind spots and other hazards.
- Maintain visual contact and communication with any spotter and/or plant operator.
Reporting in the workplace
It is important to report work, health and safety issues that are found in any workplace. This allows businesses and organisations to take action and improve safety in the workplace, which benefits ALL workers.
It is your responsibility to:
- Record and report any injuries, incidents or near misses directly to your supervisor or a company representative of the site where work is being undertaken
- Record and report any work, health and safety hazards identified directly to the controller of the site, and to your manager/supervisor
- Report any maintenance issues with plant and equipment (see section on Pre-Start Check).
Tell the supervisor or controller of the workplace if you become aware of a work health and safety issue in the workplace. If you are unable or don’t feel safe to report the safety issue, you can use the Speak Up. Save Lives app (see section on Contact SafeWork NSW)
The employer or controller of the workplace must notify SafeWork NSW immediately if a serious injury or illness, a death or a dangerous incident has taken place at work it must be reported to us on 13 10 50.
Are you fit to drive?
The health and wellbeing of a driver is especially important.
Drivers need to stay alert and be capable of operating a vehicle to keep themselves and other workers safe.
You are responsible for managing and safely performing various tasks around your vehicle.
You can improve your mental and physical health at work by:
- Ensuring you are fit to drive prior to beginning each workday
- Maintaining a healthy work life balance
- Regularly washing your hands and using hand sanitiser
- Planning and packing your meals as healthier alternatives
- Drinking adequate water throughout your workday
- Taking regular rest breaks and checking yourself for signs of fatigue
- Ensuring access to suitable facilities for rest/sleep (e.g. approved truck sleeper berth)
For more information visit the Get Healthy at Work website.
Looking After Your Mental Health
Most of us spend about one third of our life at work. It’s a big part of our daily lives and can have a considerable effect on our mental health – in a positive or negative way.
Be part of a healthy workplace culture that supports mental health.
Take care of yourself and others at work by:
- Having regular meetings with your manager to discuss your workload, working hours and raising any concerns
- Knowing the risk factors that affect work-related stress and managing these with help from your workplace
- Adjusting your work to support your mental health with realistic and flexible work schedules
- Treating others in the workplace with respect
- Finding out what tools and resources are available so you can stay mentally healthy and seek support early
- Checking on the health and wellbeing of your work mates. Are they OK?
- Seeking help when you feel you need it. It's OK to not be OK.
Need to Talk?
- Beyond Blue - 1300 224 636
- MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
- Lifeline by phone 13 11 14 or text 0477 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline (under 25) 1800 551 800
- Youth Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Under WHS legislation, employers and employees are obligated, so far as reasonably practicable, to provide a safe and healthy workplace.
Learn more about your mental health
Your rights and responsibilities
As a driver, it’s important to know your work health and safety rights and obligations.
- You have the right to a safe and healthy workplace
- Before doing a task, you should have undertaken relevant training and received instructions on how to safely perform that task
- You should be provided with adequate supervision to ensure you can competently and safely perform the task allocated
- As a driver, you need to be equipped with the right skills, knowledge and equipment to keep you safe
- You have a responsibility to take care of yourself and others
- You have a responsibility to follow any reasonable instruction, policy and procedure given by your employer, business or controller of the workplace
- You should raise concerns with any task you are required to perform, with your supervisor or the person who gave you the task.
Speak Up. Save Lives
If you are unable to speak to your supervisor, Speak Up. Save Lives is an app and web-based reporting tool that provides a platform to anonymously report an unsafe work site or unsafe work practices using your mobile phone, anytime.
Young Workers eToolkit
SafeWork NSW has developed a Young Workers eToolkit that provides guidance on:
- Your rights and responsibilities
- Employer responsibilities
- Manager and supervisor responsibilities.
In this eToolkit, you can access a range of resources specifically developed to support young worker’s safety.
Wait, Take Five
Before undertaking a task at work, consider these five steps:
2.Is it safe?
3.Could it hurt someone?
This publication may contain information about the regulation and enforcement of work health and safety legislation in NSW. It may include some of your obligations under some of the legislation that SafeWork NSW administers. To ensure you comply with your legal obligations you must refer to the appropriate legislation.
Information on the latest laws can be checked by visiting the NSW legislation website.
This publication does not represent a comprehensive statement of the law as it applies to particular problems or to individuals or as a substitute for legal advice. You should seek independent legal advice if you need assistance on the application of the law to your situation.
This material may be displayed, printed and reproduced without amendment for personal, in-house or non-commercial use.