Sit on counterbalance trucks with a rated capacity up to, and including 10 tonnes, and sit-on single side-loading trucks, must be fitted with a restraint, device, or enclosure designed to address the risk of entrapment to the operator’s head/body between the truck and the ground in the event of a tip-over.
Typically, this will be a seat belt, and the requirement applies to all trucks irrespective of age.
For trucks over 10-tonne rated capacity, seat belts are not required if the stability characteristics of the truck are sufficient to prevent overturning, considering all the situations in which it is used.
For other truck types, principally end control and/or stand on operator position e.g. side-seated reach trucks and straddle trucks; a risk assessment shows the risk of being trapped by the truck structure is low and it is better if the operator is not restrained so they can step off and away from the truck in the event of an incident.
Types of restraint
- Seat Belt – most common and practical mode of operator restraint
- Enclosed Cabin* – either with self-closing doors or door bars
- Door Bars* – may be preferred option for frequent dismounting but when used in place of a lap belt these should be interlocked to the drive system
* Unlike seatbelts, door bars and enclosed cabs provide no protection against impact injuries within the cab’s interior. This risk must be considered, especially where truck speed is relatively high. For this reason, many trucks with enclosed cabins are also fitted with seat belts, and these should always be worn.
Duty holder responsibilities
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to carry out a suitable risk assessment to protect employees and others.
Risk assessments will:
- Identify the hazards
- Decide who might be harmed and how
- Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
- Record your findings and implement them
- Review your risk assessment regularly and update it if necessary
For the purposes of the legislation, a hazard is defined as anything that may cause harm, such as striking pedestrians, other vehicles and structures; loss of stability; falling loads; falling from the carrier if someone is being lifted; or being crushed.
In these circumstances, risk is determined as the chance – high or low – that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.