Best Practice

LOCATION: Concrete products plant ARTICLE YEAR 2022
ACTIVITY: Transport & Logistics / Delivery COMPANY: Marshalls
SUB ACTIVITY: Delivering Concrete Products COMPANY LOCATION: Marshalls Landscape Products
Crane Improvements

WINNER - Safer Transport and Logistics


Marshall’s manufacture and distribute concrete landscape products. The logistics department for this division runs a fleet of approximately 200 HGV vehicles, split between artic cranes and drawbars, delivering mainly to building sites, merchant’s yards or to the public. It employs around 380 employees, ranging from Transport Planners, Logistics Administrators, FLT Operatives, HGV drivers and Site Logistics Managers.

The logistics team is constantly looking for ways to try to improve its equipment such as the forklifts, curtain sided vehicles and mobile plant.

Marshalls had 2 accidents involving crane operation, thankfully, no one was injured but serious damage was incurred.

The first accident involved a driver forgetting to lower his crane after being loaded and driving off, the crane struck an overhead conveyer, seriously damaging it which resulted in production being stopped. On inspection it was decided that the conveyor would need to be replaced.

The second accident involved a driver who left the crane hanging over the side of the trailer, this resulted in a full stack of product being pulled down.

The Logistics Director at Marshalls set up a project team which consisted of four logistics managers and the logistics health & safety advisor and consultation with HIAB, Marshall’s crane supplier. The objective was eliminating the risk of human failure.

Issuing “toolbox talks” (TBT’s) to the employees was considered but their feedback was that the department already had enough TBTs.

Risk assessments and standard operating procedures were reviewed and improved. The SOPs were made easier to follow and understand, with emphasis on pictorial instructions. The SOPs were communicated to all logistics employees and updated using their feedback.

Working closely with HIAB, Marshalls looked at a few systems to eliminate the chance of human failure. Hanson believe that they have come up with a system that achieves this and cannot be by-passed.

The solution is that each crane has the same key barrel as the vehicle ignition, therefore the driver must remove the key from his vehicle to start the crane and the same in reverse. The driver must ensure the crane is safely stowed on the trailer otherwise the key can be removed from the key barrel.

Marshall’s executive board agreed to fit all Marshall’s crane fleet with the new system. All new Drawbars entering the fleet throughout 2022/23 will have the new safety system fitted to them together with warning signs on their dashboards.


  • Drivers cannot override the system
  • Drivers cannot manoeuvre the vehicle until the crane is correctly stowed
  • It has eliminated the risk of similar crane accidents occurring
  • A safer environment for all on-site
  • The  ‘Ignition Key Interlock’ only costs £837.69 and takes 4 hours to install.



In addition to new vehicles, the Marshall’s existing fleet is also being retrofitted with the system.

This system could be used throughout the industry by any operator using the same crane fleet as Marshall’s. To assist the roll out of this system across the industry, Marshall’s are happy to share information about it.



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