Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has announced a safety blitz targeting vehicle loading cranes following concerning incidents in the state.
According to figures from the workplace health and safety regulator, in the last decade, three people have been killed in Queensland, a number of serious injuries, and property damaged on public roads after a VLC stabiliser or outrigger arm extended during travel and struck other vehicles or pedestrians.
There were also 18 known incidents involving the machines between 2012 and 2018.
The campaign responds to an agreement between the safety watchdog and the Coroner that there was need to educate operators and enforce the safe use and operation of VLC stabilisers and outriggers.
Head of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland Dr. Simon Blackwood said there are approximately 60,000 VLCs on Australian roads, with around 10,000 of those based in Queensland.
“Through this campaign, we want to educate VLC operators on how to use their cranes safely and completely eliminate stabilisers and outriggers extending during travel,” Dr. Blackwood said.
“It’ll be done over two years, from now through to 2020 in conjunction with the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
“The campaign will encourage retro-fitting of warning devices for stabilisers and outriggers and emphasise how important it is to use safe work procedures to minimise human error.
“We are also advocating for changes nationally, in particular to the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual.
“With assistance from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, a state-specific inspection requirement will be introduced in Queensland.
“This will allow accredited inspectors to check stabilisers and outriggers fitted to vehicles as part of their annual safety inspections and require repairs to be made if defects are found.”
With Queensland Road Safety Week on at the moment, the blitz includes VLC assessments at weighbridges and roadsides throughout the state. It also targets workplaces operating VLCs. So far, 424 workplaces with VLCs have been identified.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said it will continue discussions with industry about the extent of uncontrolled risks identified during the blitz.