A 27 year old worker was critically injured on a Bendigo construction site when he was caught between an Outrigger and a concrete truck. The worker suffered injuries to his chest, back and abdomin and is still in a serious condition in hospital. Police have been called in to investigate the incident.
A worker crushed between an outrigger and a concrete truck on a Bendigo building site was flown to Melbourne in a critical condition last night.
Paramedics flew the 27-year-old Sunbury man to The Alfred hospital about 5.30pm. A hospital spokeswoman said he was still in a critical condition late last night.
The worker was earlier taken from a Mollison Street work site to Bendigo Hospital with chest, back and abdominal injuries after an incident about 10.20am.
WorkSafe spokesman Michael Birt said investigators inspected the scene yesterday afternoon.
He said the man had been caught between an outrigger and a concrete truck.
Mr Birt said initial reports suggested the man was packing up the truck when the incident occurred.
The man was in a critical condition in Bendigo Hospital at 4.30pm yesterday.
An Ambulance Victoria spokesman said a specialised team visited the man in hospital and following scans, stabilised him for the flight to Melbourne. Two ambulances and police responded to the incident.
Mr Birt said police were investigating the matter.
Seven people have died at work since January 1. Mr Birt said the deaths, along with most of the 29,000 workplace injuries annually, were the result of routine tasks.
“In this case, we don’t know what has happened,” he said. “But the bigger issue is to not end up in this situation.
“It is dreadful for (the man), his family and his co-workers.”
Mr Birt said he hoped the incident would prompt employers and employees to check the safety of their equipment. “We need employers, supervisors and people doing the job to be aware of the situation and issues at hand,” he said.
The main safety factors to consider when pedestrians and vehicles collide on a construction site are signage, separating pedestrians and vehicles, no-go zones, vehicles reversing, vehicle and pedestrian visibility. It is not known which of these contributed to the crushing of the worker in this incident, however other construction employers should learn from this and take a proactive approach to dealing with the issue.
1. Keeping pedestrians and vehicles apart
This is a good way to eliminate the danger of pedestrians being crushed by vehicles. This can be done by providing separate traffic routes for pedestrians and vehicles or securing these areas with barricades. Pedestrian walkways should be clearly marked and separate from other areas. Make sure walkways are not blocked, keep them clear so that pedestrians don’t have to step onto the vehicle route. Also create no go zones for vehicles especially where there is a lot of foot traffic.
Incidents can also occur when untrained or inexperienced workers drive construction vehicles, so avoid this. Access to vehicles should be managed and workers alerted to the risk. Workers should be adequately trained in the vehicles and machinery they operate.
Good planning can assist in minimising vehicle movement around a workplace. Employers should also limit the number of vehicles allowed onto a worksite. Plan and design storage areas away from general work areas so that delivery vehicles do not have to cross the site.
Where multiple items of powered mobile plant are being operated around the workplace, a person with the necessary training or qualifications should direct the plant when reversing or moving around people.
2. Vehicles reversing
Reversing of vehicles should be avoided, however this is not always possible especially on smaller sites, so the use of reversing sensors, reversing cameras and mirrors and warning devices such as reversing alarms are vital. Drivers should be directed by a signaller who is wearing the appropriate visible clothing.
3. Visibility of vehicles and pedestrians
Proper lighting, PPE and signs are all important elements in ensuring that vehicles are visible to pedestrians and vice versa. Mirrors, reversing cameras and sensors that can help drivers see movement all around the truck. Visual warning devices such as flashing lights, reversing alarms and high-visibility markings should be fitted and operational on all machinery, vehicles and equipment.
The use of positive communication, for example hand signals, eye contact and verbal confirmation can also be helpful in assisting drivers. Line of sight communication can include the use hand signals or cap lamp light signals. The person receiving the message must provide acknowledgement that the message has been received and understood. Workers should be trained in this system of communication.
Warning signs must displayed clearly and prominently in well-lit areas to serve as a constant reminder to pedestrians of the hazard of traffic. Traffic routes should be clearly sign posted to indicate restricted parking, visitor parking, speed limits, vehicle movement, height restrictions and other route hazards. Speed limits should also be enforced on construction sites.
It’s too late for the worker crushed in the Bendigo incident, however other workers and employers can learn from what happened and hopefully avoid more accidents of this nature in the future.