Workplace Health and Safety Queensland issues safety reminder following mobile plant incident

Following an incident this month, in which a worker was killed when he was pinned between a cane haul out vehicle and a fuel tanker trailer, Workplace Health, and Safety Queensland issued a safety reminder to prevent a similar incident.

Since 2012, there have been 9 deaths associated with being crushed or trapped while working on or around mobile plant. Among these, 6 involved being crushed between mobile plant and stationary objects.

Between 2012 and 2017, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland issued a total of 62 statutory notices related to mobile plant colliding with pedestrians or other powered mobile plant. Fifty-four of those notices were improvement notices and 8 were prohibition notices involving an immediate or imminent risk to a person’s health and safety.

“In ideal circumstances, mobile plant should be turned off prior to exiting the vehicle. However, when performing certain maintenance functions or when using ancillary equipment requiring power takeoffs or vehicle mounted cranes, it may be necessary to have the engine running. In such circumstances, you must ensure that park brakes are applied and the vehicle or mobile plant is adequately immobilized before you get out of it,” Workplace Health and Safety Queensland stated in its reminder.

Persons with management or control (PWMC) of mobile plant are reminded to make sure that mobile plant:

  • Is used in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications
  • The ignition /starter switch key is removed if you leave it
  • No one works in, under or around it unless it has been prevented from moving
  • Wheel chocks are used if required
  • Workers are trained and competent to safely operate it
  • All safety features and warning devices are used in accordance with instructions, including guarding, operational controls, emergency stops and warning devices
  • When not in use, it is left in a state that does not create a risk to health and safety

The PWMC are also reminded that mobile plant maintenance, inspection, and testing should be carried out by a competent person.

“PCBUs (person conducting a business or undertaking) must also manage the risks associated with workers carrying out work in isolation. A worker may be considered to be working in isolation even if there are other people nearby,” reminded Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

More information on managing the risks of mobile plant in the workplace can be accessed through www.worksafe.qld.gov.au.

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