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by the NFCC

Control measure

Use competent people to operate on-site vehicles

Control measure knowledge

The controlled use of on-site vehicles may be beneficial, either to maintain business continuity or assist with operational activity. For example, they could be used to move or separate materials during an incident at a waste site or to lift debris. However, this should be done under the supervision of the fire and rescue service and the incident commander has the final decision as to what is used, how it is used and by whom. 

This activity could create additional hazards, as other people may not be used to working with fire and rescue service personnel, and will not understand the incident command protocols. Therefore, they will require a high level of supervision when operating in the hazard area. 

If a competent person will be working within the inner cordon, communication methods, including evacuation signals, should be implemented and understood before starting operations.

When using on-site vehicles for operational activity, the competent person operating the vehicle should be closely supervised to ensure they are not taking unnecessary risks, they have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and they are aware of the presence of personnel. 

If the incident may benefit from the use of additional or specialist vehicles, this should be proposed to the site owner, who would need to arrange for their hire.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Ensure that all personnel are aware that on-site vehicles should be only be operated by competent people

  • Consider identifying on-site vehicles in pre-planning and site inspection visits
  • Consider establishing contingency arrangements about additional or specialist vehicles with the site owner; these may need to be hired in the event of an incident

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Liaise with the responsible person (or nominated competent person) about on-site vehicles, how they are used and who can use them 

  • Identify and consider using on-site vehicles, operated by a competent person, to achieve operational objectives

  • Carry out a risk assessment before using on-site machinery
  • Implement a safe system of work and communication methods for using on-site vehicles

  • Ensure the competent person receives a full safety brief prior to operating on-site vehicles  

  • Ensure appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and high visibility clothing is worn in the area where vehicles are being operated

  • Ensure the competent person is closely supervised when operating on-site vehicles