Alert to Ambulance Owners and Operators and Those who may Provide Ambulance Crew Members

picture of ambulance door

The Health and Safety Authority is issuing an urgent warning to owners and operators of Ambulances and those who may provide ambulance crew members, in the Health Sector, following a fatal accident in which an ambulance crew member fell to his death through the side door of the ambulance pod whilst the vehicle was in motion.

Attention is drawn to vehicles where the side access door is hinged at the rear (see photographs attached) and the door opens out and into the slipstream. If the door is opened whilst the vehicle is in motion there is a significant risk that the door will be opened uncontrollably by the passing wind. The force of this event is such that, should any person be near or in contact with the door, it is highly likely that they will be pulled out of the vehicle.

picture of ambulance door

Owners and operators are advised that they should ascertain if any vehicles in their fleet have side access doors of this configuration. Such doors should be fitted with a means of alerting crews if the door is not securely closed, before the vehicle moves off and should also be fitted with a mechanism to prevent opening whilst the vehicle is in motion.

Where it is the case that such doors do not meet these criteria, control measures should be undertaken urgently to ensure that the doors are prevented from being used in any circumstances other than an emergency until a permanent remedy can be installed. A system of work should also be put in place to ensure that this prevention measure is adhered to by all relevant staff. The permanent remedy must be sufficient to provide warning if the door is not securely closed before the vehicle moves off and must also prevent the door from opening whilst the vehicle is in motion.

Owners and operators should contact the vehicle and ambulance pod suppliers to determine the most effective means of managing the risks from this configuration of side door appropriate to the make and model.