26 September 2023

WorkSafe highlights the danger of machines

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In a Safety Bulletin targeting employers, employees and company health and safety officers, WorkSafe WA has reported on a number of incidents involving the unplanned and uncontrolled movement of plant or vehicles.

WorkSafe said the incidents had resulted in the death or serious injury of workers.

It said a worker was conducting maintenance underneath a forklift when the forklift moved unexpectedly and struck the worker on the head, causing serious injury.

“An owner-operator was conducting brake maintenance underneath his truck when the truck rolled down a slope, striking the man underneath, causing fatal injuries,” WorkSafe said.

“After a heavy vehicle driver exited his vehicle, the vehicle rolled down a slope.

“The driver was pinned between his rolling vehicle and another parked vehicle, causing serious injuries.”

WorkSafe said in a further incident, a heavy vehicle driver got out of his vehicle to couple it with a trailer when the vehicle rolled on a slope.

It said the driver was crushed between the prime mover and the trailer, causing fatal injuries.

WorkSafe said the uncontrolled movement of a vehicle or plant may occur due to any singular reason or for a combination of reasons, which may include: The operator not engaging the parking brake properly; wheels not being properly chocked during parking or maintenance activities; the vehicle or plant being left in gear when exiting; parking on an unlevelled surface or surfaces which are loose or slippery; inadequate inspection and maintenance of the braking system or warning alarms associated

with the braking systems; failure of a component within the braking system; not following manufacturer’s specifications for the conduct of maintenance procedures; or improvised maintenance facilities without fit-for-purpose equipment.

WorkSafe’s two-page Safety bulletin 02/2021: Uncontrolled movement of vehicles and plant, including safety advice for vehicle and plant operators, can be accessed at this PS News link.

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