Transportation of people on goods vehicles

Discussion in 'Transport & Material Handling' started by Neil Enslin, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. Neil Enslin

    Neil Enslin Moderator

    TRANSPORTATION OF PEOPLE ON GOODS VEHICLES

    This subject is like the proverbial bad penny – it keeps turning up, and although it always crops up after another fatal or serious accident, nothing ever gets done to stop this highly dangerous practice!

    What Legislation is in place regarding the carrying of persons on the back of a bakkie?

    When given the answer – none, except that if the persons are sitting on the floor the sides and rear door of the body must be 350 mm high and if standing 900 mm high, people are amazed. National Road Traffic Act, Regulation 247.

    When told that when any person, adults as well as children, are carried in the goods section of a goods vehicle for reward, it is totally illegal, the response is – how conflicting can the law be! National Road Traffic Act, Regulation 250.

    The Construction Regulations which was promulgated under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993 on 18 July 2003 stipulates that employers must ensure that vehicles that are used to transport employees must have seats firmly secured and adequate for the number of employees to be carried. Although in conflict with the National Road Traffic Act this is definitely a step in the right direction.

    It would appear that South African Motor Vehicle Manufacturers and Legislators have somewhat got their priorities mixed up. Motor cars are specifically designed for the conveyance of persons, and cars have all the modern devices for the safety of passengers such as seat belts, air bags, etc. and the maximum number of persons permitted to be conveyed in a motor car is prescribed. BUT - There are NO safety requirements to protect persons being carried on the back of a bakkie, except for the height of the sides, and the number of persons which may be carried on the back of a bakkie is not limited.

    For many years appeals have been made to the Authorities to prohibit the carrying of people in the goods section of goods vehicles, even in big trucks, particularly after the frequent serious accidents that have happened during recent years.

    Reasons for not acceding to appeals have been that employees have to be transported on goods vehicles in the course of their work, this is understood and acceptable, but there is no valid reason why the conveyance of persons in the goods section of a goods vehicle should not be prohibited, but the prohibition not to apply in the case of employees being conveyed in the course of their work.

    The root of the problem is that the Road Traffic Legislation does NOT prohibit the conveyance of persons, children or adults, in the section of a goods vehicle intended for carrying goods,unless the conveyance is for reward in which case there is a total prohibition, and unless appropriate action is taken by the Authorities, these fatal accidents will continue.

    Source: www.arrivealive.co.za
  2. Back of Bakkie saga

    Check the licence disk for passengers on any bakkie ...it is quite clear

    Shane
  3. Brian

    Brian Member

    Transport of Passengers on Goods Vehicles (LDV’s & Co Bakkies)

    Transport of Passengers on Goods Vehicles Prt 1 of 2


    (LDV’s, Co Bakkies & Trucks)


    “It has always been done that way so why change?”:rolleyes:



    Because of my interest and concern I was prompted to do some research on the matter, because the questions are being asked more frequently these days, by clients, agents and contractors or employers alike.

    Here are my findings and comments.

    Transportation of employees on the back of open LDV’s and trucks on public roads and project sites.

    The Road Traffic Act

    The Question is:

    Is it legal in terms of the road traffic act to transport employees \ Passengers on Goods Vehicles?

    The Answer is:

    YES (But only for now until legislation changes and prohibits it entirely, which I am sure it will)

    So contractors, employers and safety officers and managers now is the time to make the necessary changes to your company policies and or vehicles regarding the transportation of employees in company LDV’s (Bakkies)

    Regulation 247 of the NRTA 93/1996 permits the conveying of passengers in the goods compartment of a vehicle provided that the sides of the vehicle are enclosed to a height of at least 350mm above the seating surface or 900mm above the surface on which the person is standing. Effectively this means that only minimal side protection is offered and there is no need for a roof covering at all.

    The Question is:

    Does the driver\employee have to be in possession of a Public driving permit (PDP) in terms of the road traffic act?

    Road Traffic Regulation 247 Does not say anything about a Public driving permit, but the client wants our drivers to have a Public Driving Permit (PDP) as well. I could not find a Traffic Regulation that states that. Please advise as to an industry standard for transport of workers on site (to and from) and whether the drivers of LDVs in this context need a PDP? This was a question put to me by a contractor, which will be asked more frequently in future by your clients.

    The Answer is.

    YES. If you need to convey employees in the back of bakkies and on the back of trucks, then your drivers will also need to have a public driving permit. I speak under correction,:confused: but I believe this is due the fact that he as a company driver? \employee is transporting the passengers for remuneration:oops: as he receives a salary for doing this as part of his job and commitment to the company and or employer. Somewhere in the RTA it states that if one transports goods or passengers for remuneration then a PDP is required.

    According to the National Road Traffic Act no. 93 of 1996, drivers of company vehicles transporting employees would fall into Category P (Transportation of passengers), and would therefore require a Public Driving Permit (PDP). The PDP must include a medical certificate stating fitness to drive.


    The Question is:

    May we transport persons (workers\employees) in the back of a bakkie with tools and equipment?

    The Answer is.

    NO. You need to be informed and aware of the change in legislation which can be used to enforce the separation goods (including tools, equipment, etc.) from passengers in the goods compartment of a vehicle such as a bakkie or LDV to prevent injury while being transported. Despite this very little has changed. Workers in general are still transported on the back of open vehicles with little or no protection from the elements, let alone a vehicle crash.

    THE OSH ACT

    The Question is:

    Is it legal in terms of the Occupational health and safety act? To transport employees\workers on the back of open trucks or vehicles not specifically designed for that purpose.

    Definition Construction Vehicle : means a vehicle used for means of conveyance for transporting persons or material or both such persons and material, as the case may be, both on and off the construction site for the purposes of performing construction work. I presume this would include the transport and or conveyance of tools and or equipment as well. So there it is your local everyday company bakkie roadworthy or not it is a construction vehicle.

    The Answer is.

    NO. We are aware of Section 8 – General Duties of employers: that you have a legal duty to provide a safe and healthy working environment. This would include providing safe transport and implies that the vehicles must be roadworthy, fit for purpose and operated by medically fit, competent drivers.

    NO. We Are aware of CR 21 and I point out 21 (1) (a) are of an acceptable design and construction; (c) are used in accordance with their design and the intention for which they were designed, having due regard to safety and health;

    Don't get caught in an unexpected legal trap under the OHS Act.

    Adopt a proactive stance regarding a driver's workstation.
    Insist that all new trucks are supplied with seat belts. It is far less expensive to fit seat belts as original equipment (OE) items than as aftermarket accessories.
    Insist that any driver and passenger of company vehicles fitted with seat belts comply with the law and buckle up.
    Insist that rear passengers also buckle up.
    Conduct consistent company campaigns on seat belt wearing.
    Train and advise company staff on the pro’s con’s advantages and disadvantages.
    Write seat belt/road safety into the human resource manager’s job description.
    Celebrate the saving of life where someone involved in a collision was wearing a seat belt - make a company hero of the person.
    Train company security people controlling business access points to insist that drivers wear seat belts on both entering and exiting company premises.
    Place seat belt safety posters around business premises at strategic points.
    Make use of buckle up stickers in company commercial vehicles.
    Tackle the serious problem of staff traveling on goods vehicles in the course of employment.

    Now here is a dilemma for many companies.
    It is ridiculous to insist that drivers use seat belts, when a staff contingent is exposed to extreme danger on the back of an open bakkie or truck.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  4. Brian

    Brian Member

    Employers especially CEO’s 16(1)’s 16(2)’s Managers and Safety Officers

    Remember your legal duty and obligation to safety which is everyone’s responsibility


    As an employer, we know that the OHS Section 8 and its regulations are the most important section and that we should know, or be aware, of what’s in there. The law clearly requires that under General Duties of employers, employers have to provide a workplace –that is safe and without risk to employees’ health.

    So how does this relate to transporting your employees on the back of an open LDV?

    In the interests of health and safety, it’s therefore your responsibility to ensure that your employees are always safe, even if it’s a pain to ensure that you transport them from site A (even on a private road on private property or site), to site B, in a roadworthy vehicle that’s operated by a medically fit and competent driver.

    A typical example of “alternative vehicle use” is the taxi industry which regularly adapts goods vehicles (mostly panel vans) into passenger carrying vehicles by simply adding seats - without considering the safety standards such a conversion demands. Similarly, conversions to vehicles used on mining property such as seats with seat belts on the back of LDV’s because of company policy are also perhaps not as safe as implied.

    Remember an employee may in terms of Sec 14(a) of the act refuse to be transported in the back of a bakkie. Which would in my mind most likely lead to the employee lodging a complaint of victimization (OHS act 26(1)) against the employer, because I know how most would react to such a refusal? From an employee who for his own safety refused to ride in the back of a bakkie or incited his colleagues not too do the same. This would leave the employer with a predicament I am sure. But at the end of the day the employee would be right.

    Well I thank you all for your interest and attention. I hope I have been able to shed more light on the subject for many of you. I have certainly learnt much and have become wiser to the many pitfalls encountered by employers here in South Africa. Because failure to comply can and will lead to major implications in terms of financial losses fines and penalties which may be imposed in terms of the OHS act. Well okay or will do so in the future.

    BE SAFE

    Transport of Passengers on Goods Vehicles (LDV’s & Co Bakkies) Part 2

    FOOT NOTES & INTERESTING POINTS AND OBSERVATIONS

    From various resources and references

    Interestingly enough, farmers have received a special exemption from Regulation 247 and therefore can use open flatbed trailers to transport people.

    Regulation 250 makes it quite clear that any person conveyed in the goods compartment of a vehicle may not pay for such transportation.

    So we have a situation where the authorities know the problem exists, industry in general does not want to change the current practice and people will continue to get hurt or killed regardless.

    Perhaps a possible solution would be to permit carrying passengers on open vehicles under certain circumstances for instance where the maximum speed of the vehicle is restricted to 40kmh which, in effect, describes a farm tractor. Anything over 40kmh would be banned completely.

    Understandably there will be resistance to change, but we have to consider the person who may not have a choice but to make use of such transport, or who by the very nature of his employment is forced to travel in this manner. I believe that should various legislation be closely examined, let alone our Constitution, then most if not all transporters would be guilty of purposely putting passengers on open vehicles directly in harms’ way.

    If we are to take safety seriously in this country, and I believe that many of us do, some hard and perhaps unpopular decisions need to be made and implemented. We know what the problems are and what the consequence of inaction will be. How many more lives need to be lost before we act?

    1.) There are NO safety requirements to protect persons being carried on the back of a bakkie, except for the height of the sides, and the number of persons which may be carried on the back of a bakkie is not limited.
    2.) For many years appeals have been made to the Authorities to prohibit the carrying of people in the goods section of goods vehicles, even in big trucks, particularly after the frequent serious accidents that have happened during recent years.
    3.) Reasons for not acceding to appeals, have been that employees have to be transported on goods vehicles in the course of their work,(Not true there are other safer alternatives a BIT more costly in the short term but SAFER) this is understood and acceptable, but there is NO VALID REASON why the conveyance of persons in the goods section of a goods vehicle should NOT be prohibited, but FOR the prohibition not to apply in the case of employees being conveyed in the course of their work,IS LUDICROUS.(The valid reason is that Employers are killing employee's who are transported on the back of open vehicles)
    4.) The root of the problem is that the Road Traffic Legislation does NOT prohibit the conveyance of persons, children or adults, in the section of a goods vehicle intended for carrying goods, unless the conveyance is for reward in which case there is a total prohibition, and unless appropriate action is taken by the Authorities, these fatal accidents will continue and the “Arrive Alive” campaign could possibly suffer the same fate as the RTQS and become a dead duck due to lack of support by the Legislation.

    The vulnerable road user, and here we include pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and certain classes of passengers, is most at risk of injury or death when venturing onto our roads. Pedestrians account for about 40% of all fatalities and in certain metropolitan areas and cities, facilities are being set aside for safe walking and cycling where conflict with traffic has been minimized.

    Legislative changes have, at best, been a poor compromise to date.
    One may well ask how we compare with other countries. Not very well I’m afraid. Most countries in the developed world have banned the practice outright. Workers in countries such as the UK and Italy for example must be transported in closed vehicles - hence the development of larger panel vans which can accommodate the needs of industry.

    Africa on the other hand is a completely different kettle of fish. Mobility in any shape or form is extremely valuable and prosperity is inescapably linked to it. A bicycle is better than walking and a car represents serious wealth - not for the intrinsic value, but rather for the mobility and access to services it represents.

    And yet, this is where the dilemma begins - South Africa is a developing country with so many aspects already entrenched in the developed world. Many of our industry standards are on a par or even better than the international community and yet we are also on the other end of the spectrum, especially when it comes to safety in our communities. What does one do when your choices are limited?

    In the urban context, transport options are much wider and yet the mindset of industry remains entrenched with the view that “it’s always been done that way so why change?

    The additional cost to industry if the EU model of a total ban on passengers on open goods vehicles is brought into South Africa would mean that many SMME businesses would simply not be able to afford the change if it meant buying new vehicles to accommodate legislative change. And yet something has to be done to make it safer for passengers being transported this way.We simply cannot go on allowing employees to be killed or severely injured in this way.(What about the cost to the families of lost or severely injured loved ones)

    The rural context is perhaps even more significant as people will use any form of transport to get to work, shops, schools or hospital - regardless of the personal risk they expose themselves to. As far as the dangers are concerned, the record speaks for itself. Almost weekly there are reports of school children or workers being injured or killed in roll-over crashes involving LDV’s, trucks or trailers.

    One would’ve thought that by now, authorities and the DOL would have taken serious action to prevent these sorts of tragedies and loss of life from happening.

    I believe stronger DOL enforcement is required.

    What do you say ?
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  5. Change Agent

    Change Agent Member

    Brian

    You were on the right track , but then lost the plot again.
    Transportation of people / goods are not part of the portfolio of the DOL.
    It is the DOT / Provincial and loacl Traffic authorities who needs to get more involved.

    But this is a national dilemma. To give you an example, a Telecoms company in the UK started with a set of absolute rules, after too many fatalities on their sites. A local company is a subsidiary of the UK operation, and the same applies to them here in good ole SA.
    The 7th rule (for which a service provider will receive a red card if broken) is No people on the back of goods vehicles.
    Now once this rule is enforced, it spills down to the PC, and the Subbie.
    In most cases, the work performed for the company directly, requires 3 to 6 people on a site, which can easily be handled with two trips instead of one.
    However, the problem starts when the infrastructure that feeds cellular networks need to be built. These are long labour intensive "Dynamic Linear Construction" projects where up to 300 people are deployed for a stretch of 3 to 5 km. Now apply the 7th rule, and you would need to hire 5 buses (65 seaters) to get employees to site.

    This rule came into effect after the contracts were put in place, and additional costs are not paid by the company that builds the network. Who suffers? The employees! Because the additional cost burden has to be absorbed by the business and wages and bonuses are cut back. So does the cost of safety compliance and training become short-changed.

    There is a saying in law, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do", which literally means that the judicial system within a country is determined by the laws in that country. If our road traffic authorities issue exemptions to one industry sector, no court will find another in breach of the same rule, as the norm is to "tolerate" non-compliance.
    The tolerance is probably ascribed to government's lack of job creation initiatives, high crime levels curbing foreign investment, and a general lack of a reliable public transport system.
    This on the one hand, measured against the Constitution (right to work) puts government in a catch 22. They cannot enforce the law! If they do, unemployment will continue to rise, putting more pressure on government to provide the infrastructure to support the economy.

    So where does this leave us within the OHSACT, which seems to supersede all laws in some people's minds?
    Reasonable Practicable. Is it reasonable to expect a company to comply with a "private" rule, to the detriment of its existence?
    Does section 8 really imply that the road to work is part of the employers duties?
    On site is a different scenario, but there people can walk to site, or as elsewhere mentioned, buses transport people from the security gate to the job site, but this an exception to the rule.

    I agree that other rules such as road worthy vehicles, and drivers with PDP's (medical fitness) applies, but it is not an OHSAct requirement. It is the NRTA that applies. Which in any case do allow for people to be carried on the back of a goods vehicle.

    I had an argument with a client once on this issue. They insist it forms part of site induction.
    So here is the possible scenario:
    1. Inform all employees that there are absolute rules ,which could end a business if it not adhered to.
    2. Make them sign a Induction register to prove they were informed.
    3. Load them onto the back of a 10t truck and drive to site. (or if they listen)
    3. Call the client and tell them you cannot start the job as nobody wants to get on the trucks to go to site.

    Now if we compare our road accident stats for the last 6 months with a total of 12 fatal bus accidents not even related to work, would it be wise to introduce more buses to transport construction workers?