When it comes to the issue of safety on the job, the haulage work industry is particularly vulnerable. As in any line of work, things can and do go wrong despite the most stringent safety measures, but the solitary nature of the job for many employees (i.e. lorry drivers) means it's even more important to be prepared for any eventuality.
In the UK transport industry, there are strict requirements under the Health & Safety regulations (First Aid) of 1981, which state that employers must provide "adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to enable first aid to be given to employees if they are injured or become ill at work."
While it's mandatory for employers to provide a first aid kit for every driver, they come in many shapes and sizes – from very basic to a comprehensive arsenal of emergency essentials. The website of the Road Haulage Assocation (RHA) is an excellent resource for purchasing specialised first aid and emergency equipment that may be required for those doing haulage work. The following are just a few examples of what is available.
The 70-Piece First Aid Kit
The 70-Piece First Aid Kit is a great compact kit for anyone carrying out haulage work, and offers peace of mind for drivers and employers in terms of compliance. The kit sits inside a soft nylon bag with clear and easy-to-access compartments, which are securely held in place with zippers. The contents of the kit include a variety of special-purpose bandages, ice packs, cleansing wipes, gloves, sterile eye pads, plasters and dressings, tape, safety pins, tweezers, scissors and a large foil blanket. Small enough to store behind a seat or in a glove compartment, the kit offers at-a-glance emergency medical supplies, covering a wide range of minor injuries for first response care or that could be incurred by the driver.
Vehicle First Aid Kit (Box)
The Vehicle First Aid Kit is a comprehensive selection of medical supplies. It’s contained within a hard plastic box with a hinged lid, which can be mounted to the interior of the cab if required. It's clearly identifiable and is entirely health & safety compliant. As well as a HSE first aid guide, the box contains numerous sterile dressings and bandages, gloves, safety pins, assorted plasters, scissors and cleansing wipes. Everything that's required to attend to minor injuries inside a vehicle or on the road is on hand in this sturdy kit.
In the Warehouse
Of course, not all employees in the haulage work industry are lorry drivers, and an employer's responsibilities also extend to those working in the depot or warehouse. Depending on the environment, other specialised emergency equipment may be appropriate, including the following.
Sharps Handling Kit
Designed for the safe disposal of potentially contaminated needles, blades or other sharp objects, the Sharps Handling Kit can be invaluable in situations where an injury or incident has occurred and infection is possible. It contains everything needed for the disposal of the aforementioned items, including Nitrile and Hex-Armour gloves, sharps containers, polypropylene forceps, disinfectant wipes and spray and a mechanical grabber.
The Duo Fold Stretcher is a very handy piece of equipment to keep on site and is listed by the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) as an essential. The stretcher is made from lightweight aluminium, and has minimal storage and compacts down both vertically and horizontally. Once locked open, the stretcher is extremely robust, utilising a distinctive hi-vis waterproof and fireproof material that can support weights up to 159kg. This ensures that a patient can be transported safely from a building (in the instance of an injury during a fire or warehouse incident) with minimal movement.
These items and the rest of the range of HSE approved health and safety equipment can be purchased from the RHA’s website.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.