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General guidance

Three areas where injuries may occur when working on or around trucks include:

  1. the cab of the truck
  2. trailers
  3. on site.

The cab of the truck

  • Working on the cab.
  • Getting in and out of the cab.

Factors and workplace activities that can add to the risks of falls from the cab of the truck include but are not limited to:

  • not having three points of contact for entry into the cab
  • climbing up hard to reach parts of the truck to clean or perform mechanical maintenance
  • hard to see handholds that match the colour of the truck
  • poorly maintained trucks, with serious defects that could lead to a fall
  • first step to the truck too high off the ground
  • handles on the truck made from a slippery material
  • foot holds too small or not deep enough for feet
  • no safe access to the engine for a pre-start check
  • jumping down from the cab at height
  • getting in or out of the cab with one hand
  • getting in and out of the truck multiple times in one day
  • a lack of training on how to enter and exit the truck properly
  • worker health.

Through ongoing consultation with drivers, there are a range of ways to address these risks:

  • Ensure there are three points of contact to assist the driver in entering the cab.
  • Design or modify the truck so that maintenance and cleaning can be done at ground level.
  • Install the hand holds and foot holds at a suitable height.
  • Attach LED work lights to door of vehicle to shine light on the steps and ground Improve the grip on the footholds.
  • Reduce the amount of times drivers have to get in and out of the truck.
  • Provide drivers with rules about safe entry and exit to the truck.
  • Educate and train drivers on how to use the truck safely (i.e. induct drivers appropriately) for trucks, including appropriate supervision for new drivers.
  • Consider elements such as rosters, shift schedules and personal factors that may lead to the potential of fatigue.
  • Consider conditions that may distract the driver.
  • Appropriate equipment and PPE (e.g. footwear).
  • Consider the operating environment (i.e. wet weather, heat, cold).


  • Walking and working on a trailer.
  • Climbing onto a trailer.

Factors that can add to the risks of falls from trailers include but are not limited to:

  • poorly designed ladders or steps
  • workers climbing at height to secure the load
  • workers climbing on the top of trailer where there are unprotected openings
  • ladders or steps are unsafely located on the trailer
  • workers climbing at height over or around oversized loads workers jumping down at heights from the carrier or trailer
  • workers walking on flatbed trailers that are wet and slippery
  • using tyres as steps to climb onto the trailer
  • parking on an incline, where loads can shift and push workers off the trailer
  • an item blocking the worker from safely climbing up, such as the load, load restraint or fixed toolbox.

There are a range of ways to address these risks:

  • Pallet jack freight so there is no need to climb up on the trailer.
  • Use a mobile work platform to eliminate the need to climb onto loads.
  • Design or modify the trailer or loading area so the worker does not need to climb.
  • Arrange the load so workers do not need to climb onto the trailer.
  • Design or modify the trailer surface with a slip resistant material.
  • Provide safe access edge protection, such as guard rails, where workers need to walk.
  • Load multi-drop deliveries in sequence so workers can easily access items at each stop.
  • Use a suitable step ladder or portable handrail on the trailer.
  • Identify and clearly mark entry points on the trailer.
  • Ensure workers use fall protection systems, such as restraint belts, harnesses and lanyards.
  • Ensure workers wear suitable footwear with adequate slip resistance.

On site

  • Working around the truck at ground level.

Factors that can add to the risks of falls around trucks at ground level include:

  • workers walking on surfaces around load areas and ramps that are contaminated with water, diesel or mud
  • workers walking on poorly designed and/or maintained surfaces and access steps around load areas and ramps
  • sloping ground, uneven surfaces, truck position and slippery surfaces
  • working at night, in poor conditions, or in direct sunlight or shadows
  • exposure to weather around load areas and ramps
  • customer sites that do not have an exclusion zone with an area for drivers
  • new and unfamiliar delivery sites, which may have different procedures.

There are a range of ways to address these risks:

  • Ensure load areas and ramps are adequately lit and protected from the elements.
  • Install a guard railing at load areas and ramps where there is a drop off.
  • Install non-slip surfaces where spillages are likely to occur.
  • Support drivers to contact their depot if they have concerns with the site.
  • require the sales team to conduct a site visit to assess the suitability of the customer site as part of any new contract
  • Provide information about new customer sites to drivers.
  • Clean loading area and ramps regularly to ensure they is no accumulation of contaminants.
  • Use safe work practices around surfaces that have been made slippery by contaminants.
  • Ensure workers wear suitable footwear with adequate slip resistance.

Further information