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21.1 Introduction to managing the risks of working from moving vehicles

This section offers guidance for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) on how to manage the risks associated with working from moving vehicles. This may be while operating in or beside live traffic lanes, or within a controlled road or roadside worksite.

Examples of where a worker may need to work from a moving vehicle include:

  • setting up or removing temporary traffic cones and signs on a road
  • installing pavement marking systems
  • collecting waste and recycling (standing in an open foot well, or runners standing on the rear or sides of waste or recycling collection vehicles)
  • carrying out road or roadside inspections
  • roadside spraying.

This section gives advice on how to eliminate or minimise the risks associated with working from moving vehicles. It covers situations where workers are working in any location on a vehicle other than when seated in the cab with their seatbelt on.

21.2 What could go wrong when working from a moving vehicle?

Workers can be harmed by:

  • falling from the vehicle
  • being hit by other vehicles or mobile plant
  • being run over by the vehicle (including when reversing)
  • being thrown from the vehicle if it moves, turns, or stops suddenly without warning
  • falling against or being struck by objects on the vehicle deck.

Note: Aspects of how mobile plant is used or operated by workers may also cause risks to workers’ health. For more information, see the following sections:

21.3 Eliminate the need for workers to work from moving vehicles

Where reasonably practicable, alternative methods should be used that do not require workers to work from a moving vehicle. For example:

  • using fully automated cone deployment systems
  • using automated temporary road safety barrier placement
  • using automated road debris collection
  • closing the road and completing the activity in a static site rather than as a mobile activity (for example, line marking).

21.4 Minimise the risks to workers while working from moving vehicles

Where eliminating the need for workers to work from a moving vehicle is not reasonably practicable, consider what control measures can be used to minimise the risks.

Examples of control measures include:

  • limiting the time workers are on the outside of the vehicle. When setting out temporary traffic management (TTM) gear, workers should only be positioned on the outside the vehicle during active work. They should travel in the vehicle cab at all other times, including when looping back or repositioning the vehicle
  • making sure the vehicle is stationary (and the hand brake is applied) before workers attempt to get on or off the vehicle
  • making sure workers on the vehicle can communicate with the driver at all times. This should be checked before work starts
  • making sure the vehicle is operating at a slow speed and in the same direction as other traffic (if in or near a live lane)
  • only allowing outside-of-the-cab work on vehicles specifically designed for that purpose (for example, vehicles that have foot wells with barriers and certified anchor points for securing worker restraint equipment)
  • making sure workers are safely attached to the vehicle using an approved worker restraint system, where relevant
  • making sure low entry vehicles (LEVs), such as those used for waste and recycling collection, have:
    • a well maintained non-slip standing surface
    • at least three points of contact for the driver while operating the vehicle
    • a barrier across the doorway while the vehicle is in motion
    • a speed limiter, limiting the vehicle to a safe speed while being operated from the left-hand side.

Using a worker restraint system on moving vehicles

Where relevant, workers should use an approved restraint system that will prevent them from being able to fall from the vehicle.

The vehicle should be equipped with:

  • anchor points for securing worker restraint equipment
  • a solid or soft barrier across the foot well
  • a lanyard system to attach to anchor points
  • a harness system to be worn by the worker.

All components should be installed, certified, used, and maintained in accordance with the appropriate standards.

Consider installing a system where the driver is automatically notified if the worker becomes detached from the vehicle while it is moving.

Train workers in how to work safely from moving vehicles

Before working from a moving vehicle, train workers in how to do so safely and know how to correctly use the fall protection system where applicable. For example, they will need to be trained in:

  • when it is safe to work from the moving vehicle (and when they should ride in the cab)
  • how to check the harness, lanyards, and anchor points to make sure they are safe for use
  • how to fit the harness correctly
  • how to correctly connect the harness to the lanyard and the lanyard to anchor points (including making sure adjustable lanyards are the correct length to prevent falls from the vehicle)
  • what to do if they do fall from the vehicle while it is moving
  • the correct methods for communicating with the driver.

21.5 More information on working from moving vehicles

  • Working at height (this includes useful guidance for harnessing and anchor points).