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May 5, 2010

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Research – Slips, trips and falls in road haulage

The findings of an HSE-funded survey into practices within the UK road haulage sector relating to slip, trip and fall risk factors are now available.

The aim of the research, which was conducted face to face with HGV drivers, was to produce a set of baseline data describing such practices. The study explored risk factors relating to footwear and vehicle safety fittings, such as ladders, steps, handrails and load-bed covering.

The research found that although only two thirds of the sampled drivers were issued with footwear specially designed for their work, usage levels of slip-resistant footwear were high, at 88 per cent. Ladders and steps were more common than handrails, which were, however, more likely to be used than ladders, where fitted (82 per cent compared with 56 per cent). Load beds were much more likely to have been subjected to a cleaning process (79 per cent) during the previous year than replaced (6.5 per cent), or repaired (23 per cent).

The survey showed a clear association between size of organisation and the likelihood of drivers being provided with work-specific footwear. The data also showed a statistically significant correlation between organisational size and risk-taking behaviour, such as jumping down to the ground from a vehicle without using ladders or steps, and the likelihood that vehicles are checked or inspected for problems that may cause slip, trip and fall-related accidents.

HSE Research Report 793 – ‘Footwear and modifications to goods vehicles in the UK road haulage sector’ is available on the HSE website at:

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