KANBrief 2/10

Fight the Risk

Safe driving and transporting – the topic of the 2010/2011 prevention campaign being run by the German statutory accident insurance institutions – is about more than just proper behaviour. The vehicles themselves must also be safe. Standards, and the requirements for properties formulated within them, are an important aspect in the prevention of accidents and health hazards in this area.

A key aspect of the “Fight the Risk” campaign is transport and traffic within companies. Two examples are intended to illustrate the diversity of the risks associated with this aspect: securing of loads, and bicycles.

Securing of loads

The hazard presented by an unsecured load, whether a water bottle or a toolbox, is frequently underestimated. Under sharp braking, objects can be flung through the vehicle, fall from the load surface, or even cause the vehicle to tip. “Put simply, during emergency braking or a crash, any object in the vehicle will attempt to remain in motion at its original velocity. Objects within the vehicle, however harmless they may appear, can therefore become projectiles, and present a hazard to the vehicle’s occupants,” explains Dr. Karl Schories of the DGUV’s Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (DGUV Forum 3/2010, p. 8).

Instructions for the safe stowage of loads in trucks, vans or cars can be found in various brochures issued by the German accident insurance institutions (BG-Information Nos. 597-21 (concerning cars and vans) and 649 (trucks); “Risiko raus – Ladungssicherung in der Landwirtschaft”, brochure issued by the German agricultural social insurance, 2010). Even simple measures, such as anti-slip mats in the luggage compartment or load area, may be beneficial. If a load is to be firmly lashed down, however, lashing chains or straps, depending upon the load type, must be placed over the load or secured to it, connected with the lashing points on the vehicle, and tensioned by means of tensioners or ratchets. Requirements, for example concerning the equipment of the vehicles (anchorages, lashing points, eyes), the lashing tackle (straps, ropes, chains) and the permissible lashing forces are set out in the DIN 75410, EN 12195 and EN 12640 series of standards.

Revision of EN 12195 governing the calculation of securing forces is currently pending in the course of the regular review of standards. In Germany, the Transport expert committee of the DGUV supports this standardization activity from the perspective of occupational safety and health. The standards committee has already drafted the ISO 27956 international standard, Road vehicles – Securing of cargo in delivery vans – Requirements and test methods, based upon DIN 75410-3. As a result, the proven requirements of the German standard for partitions and lashing points are now also set out within the international body of standards.

Bicycles Another focus of the “Fight the Risk” campaign is intended to reduce bicycle accidents among schoolchildren. The starting-point here is a safe bicycle. Requirements to be met by manufacturers with regard to the safety of bicycles can be found in DIN EN 14765 (Bicycles for young children) and DIN EN 14764 (City and trekking bicycles). These two standards were however already considered inadequate when they first appeared in 2006. Their safety requirements are so modest that they are satisfied without difficulty even by cheap products of poor quality. The ADFC (the general German bicycle club) has criticized for example the low strength of handlebars, stem and frame (during acceleration and out-of-saddle or uphill riding), the minimum insertion depth of the handlebar, the intended mounting points of lamps, and brake tests with far too low a total weight (of 100 kg; 150 kg would be realistic) (Further information on the “Fight the Risk” prevention campaign (in German)).

The current campaign begins with the youngest members of society and particularly targets the 10 to 15 year-olds, since accidents in this age category are particularly frequent. However, bicycles are used for journeys not only to work or school, but also within large company sites (for example at airports) or for transport tasks in postal and courier services. To date, no special requirements have been set out in standards for these bicycle types. OSH representatives must therefore address the full breadth of use, in order for the safety standards for children’s and commercial bicycles to be developed further and adapted to the state of the art.

Ulrich Bamberg

More about the topic transport and traffic