Construction industry launches new code of practice
Work on the code began after TfL’s research into cycling fatalities in the capital revealed that 4 out of 10 deaths involved HGVs in 2010 and a staggering 12 out of 16 deaths involved HGVs in 2011.
The code is being launched just weeks after 3 cyclists and 3 pedestrians were killed within 9 days on London’s roads in collisions with HGVs. Of the 14 cyclist fatalities so far this year in London, 9 have involved HGVs.
20 operators and contractors have already pledged to sign up to the ‘standard for construction logistics’, which is an amalgamation of the toughest elements of existing standards used by organisations like Crossrail and the Mineral Products Association.
The standard contains 16 requirements, each aimed at reducing the risk of collisions between large construction vehicles and vulnerable road users. Supplementary to the requirements are several non-mandatory recommendations.
The standard is relevant only to operators and contractors in the construction industry, thus other logistic sectors are being encouraged to define their own standards.
CTC believes the code’s adoption is a positive development but warns that it needs to be much more comprehensive if cyclist and pedestrian deaths are to be avoided. Here we outline the recommendations that need to be more robust.
Collision reporting – Fleet operators are required to report all collisions resulting in injury and damage to vehicles and property to their client or contracting entity. There is no mention of a need to report to the local authority, Traffic Commissioner or Health and Safety Executive. There is also no mention of the contractor’s responsibility to report these incidents to the authorities.
Traffic routing – Fleet operators are required to ensure all specified routes are adhered to by communicating routes and access requirements to drivers. There is no specific mention of the need for local authorities or other stakeholders to be consulted during route planning. There is also no requirement to consult with local authorities or other stakeholders when planning and controlling on-site traffic. Additionally, there is no mention about the need for fleet operators to liaise with local authorities or other stakeholders when making alterations to previously agreed routes.
Blind-spot minimisation – Fleet operators are required to ensure that all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight have their blind-spots completely eliminated or minimised as far as is practical and possible. However, there is no explanation of who is responsible for deciding what is practical and possible. It is disappointing that there is no requirement for low-height cabs, which give drivers much greater visibility and are already available on the market.
Training and Development – Fleet operators are required to ensure all drivers undergo approved progressive training especially covering the safety of vulnerable road users. Completion of cycle hazard awareness training is given as a recommendation rather than a requirement. It is regrettable that cycle hazard awareness training is not mandatory, and furthermore, that drivers are not required to complete cycle training. CTC wants all drivers of large vehicles to undergo mandatory cycle training.
The code may marginally reduce the risk of crashes, but vehicles from which drivers can’t see other road users are fundamentally unsafe in urban areas, must be heavily restricted until the industry is forced to adopt safer designs with lower cab heights and greater visibility.
Read CTC's briefing on goods vehicles for more information about how lorry danger can be reduced.