Summer safety - review your transport risks

Workplace transport is the highest risk for builders merchant customers and contractors. Onsite pedestrian and traffic movement are often closely interlinked, with visitors routinely sharing space with delivery lorries, forklift trucks and other vehicles. 

A suitable and sufficient risk assessment should reduce hazards to an acceptable level. Depending on your site layout, controls might include barriers, walkways, crossings and appropriate vehicle training for employees. 

However, risk assessments generally reflect a 'typical' day. In summer, there are additional safety issues to consider. 

Take specific measures when school’s out 

During the summer holidays, parents juggling childcare and work commitments may bring their children to your branch. 

Kids are less aware of safety hazards and more difficult for drivers to see, making them especially vulnerable in a busy builders merchant. Your yard is also full of distractions, so while parents negotiate a competitive price on their purchase, children could unwittingly get into harm’s way. 

While parents should always look out for their children, you have a duty of care to everyone who steps foot on your site. A few summer safety measures can effectively manage vehicle risks and prevent devastating accidents and claims. 

Train staff to be child-aware

It’s a fact that kids are unpredictable – so you need to train your team to be one step ahead. 

  • Remind drivers that if they see a child (or any other pedestrian) who is not aware of their surroundings, to STOP their vehicle and pause until the area is safe. 
  • Stopping for just 30 seconds could avoid a serious incident that could lead to far-reaching emotional distress, reputational damage and financial penalties. 
  • Make sure employees safely park and lock forklifts and other vehicles. 
  • Obey speed limits at all times.
  • Train workers on emergency procedures in the event of an accident. 

Revisit your risks throughout the year 

Every season presents unique compliance issues, so set a rolling schedule to review branch hazards. With more children on your site in summer, ensure your retail space is safe for customers of all ages. 

  • Check your branch for blind spots. Would your current controls stop a child from running into a vehicle’s path? 
  • Assess your yard from a child’s point of view, checking what’s in easy reach on your lower shelves. 
  • Make sure stock is safely stacked and secured to prevent toppling risks – even with a child climbing on it. 
  • Keep vehicle and pedestrian pathways clear of obstructions. 

Summer safety is a team effort between merchants, employees and customers. Lighten the load on working parents by reassessing your risks and training your team to keep an extra eye out for kids. 

Building a safe, child-friendly environment avoids the high cost of onsite accidents – and keeps customers returning year round. 

Ready your site for summer with the Opus team 

We’ve helped hundreds of builders merchants deal with seasonal compliance challenges. For expert support on preventing incidents and maintaining compliance, chat with us on or 0330 043 4015. 

Prefer to book a meeting? Schedule some time in the diary here