WorkSafe Victoria targeting poor safety around mobile plant

WorkSafe Victoria is targeting poor safety around mobile plant as part of a new campaign to reduce fatalities and injuries on construction sites.

Inspectors will be visiting construction sites throughout May checking to ensure that employers and contractors have identified the hazards associated with this type of machinery and are controlling the risks to workers and the public.

The safety watchdog says over the past 10 years, 16 people have lost their lives working with or around machinery such cranes, front end loaders, elevated work platforms, forklifts, skid steer loaders, concrete trucks and other types of powered mobile plant.

WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said every year the construction sector continued to record a high number of workplace injuries and fatalities.

“Last year seven construction workers lost their lives, and a number of these tragic incidents involved vehicles or powered mobile plant being operated on site,” Ms. Williams said.

Ms. Williams said as the sector commonly used a vast range of heavy and mobile machinery – often for short periods of time – meant construction sites were dynamic and the hazards have to be to be constantly reassessed.

“As construction sites change and develop, so do the risks to people on the site,” she said.

“Part of the obvious risks with mobile machinery is that they move from place to place at different times, which means managing the risks to employees and site visitors must be an ongoing process.

“That’s why it is critical that employers outline to workers the work that needs to be done, the potential risks involved, and identify how the risks must be controlled. Appropriate training and clear exclusion zones are essential because pedestrians and powered mobile machinery simply do not mix.”

Ms. Williams said other safety measures that should be put into consideration include:

  • Ensuring operators are appropriately trained and competent
  • Regular inspection and maintenance of machinery
  • If a traffic management plan is required, ensure it is reviewed and updated as the site changes
  • Workers and members of the public (such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists) must be isolated and separated from powered machinery and vehicles
  •  Erecting barriers where appropriate
  • Identify and control visibility issues, particularly if lighting is poor (eg. fog, rain, night works).

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