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Control measure
Manage heavy vehicle considerations

Control measure knowledge

In this control measure, the term 'heavy vehicle' primarily relates to LGVs and PSVs, but will incorporate elements relating to incidents involving any rail stock or large aircraft i.e. working at height.

For further information, refer to the Extrication sections relating to vehicle construction, including composite materials and metals.

The enhanced issues presented when carrying out an extrication from a heavy vehicle include:

  • Weight and construction of vehicle components with the potential to cause injuries due to manual handling issues
  • Sectional thickness or cross-sectional area
  • Construction materials
  • Reinforcement
  • Access
  • Tool or equipment damage
  • Working at height
  • Vehicle systems (including 24 volt systems)
  • Sleeper compartment locations and other voids

The size requirements of heavy vehicles, and the significant weight associated with the loads they carry, contribute to the use of high strength, low alloy (HSLA) steels and heavy gauge materials in their construction.

If vehicle structural components need to be displaced or removed there will be significant weight associated with them. This should be managed appropriately. For example, the weight associated with removing LGV components such as doors may be further affected by the height of the components from ground level.

Operating above ground level with rescue equipment introduces a number of significant working difficulties such as:

  • Gaining access and egress
  • Manual handling of the casualty
  • Manual handling of any tools

A clear working area should be established around the vehicle to allow the use of mobile platforms from which crews can work. Such platforms allow same level working between the crews and the casualty location without having to encroach on the minimal space available within a compartment.

Where platforms are used, personnel should be managed to ensure that the limited space is used effectively. Crews should be kept to the minimum required for the extrication.

Where vehicle components are removed or displaced considered the effect on vehicle stability strategies in use.

  • Recheck stability when structural components are to be removed from heavy vehicles
  • Use lowering mechanisms for items of significant weight: 'Try before you Pry'
  • Ensure a safe area of work exists below any vehicle components being removed
  • Minimise the size of the component being removed from the vehicle to reduce weight and manual handling issues where appropriate
  • Use safe working platforms and ensure a clear working area exists around the platform
  • Ensure fall arrest equipment is used where required

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Provide information and training to crews on the risk presented by heavy vehicles at rescue operations

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Consider the size and weight of the vehicle as part of the extrication plan
  • Consider requesting specialist rescue resources to assist with extrications involving large and heavy vehicles