Poor Safety around Mobile Plant Addressed by Work Safe Victoria

Over the course of the month of May, WorkSafe Victoria targeted poor safety around mobile plant as part of a campaign, aimed at minimizing fatalities and injuries on building sites.

Inspectors visited sites to ensure employers and contractors have identified the hazards associated with this type of machinery and are addressing any risk to workers or the public.

WorkSafe said that over the past decade, 16 people lost their lives working with or around machinery on construction sites, including forklifts, cranes, front end loaders, elevated work platforms, skid steer loaders, concrete trucks and other types of powered mobile plant.

Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/05/worksafe-victoria-targeting-poor-safety-around-mobile-plant/#.WS8s18YlEl1

Working with Mobile plant in construction

The operation of powered mobile plant on construction sites can expose workers to a wide range of health and safety risks. These risks need to be identified and assessed in order for them to be eliminated or controlled to minimise the risk of injury to workers.

Some of the risks include:

  • The risk of plant overturning
  • The risk of things falling on the operator of the plant
  • Risk of the operator being ejected from the plant
  • the possibility of plant colliding or coming into contact with any person or thing (e.g. workers, other vehicles or plant, energised powerlines)
  • Risk of mechanical or other failures occurring (e.g. hydraulic failures, release of hazardous substances).

People required to operate or work around powered mobile plant may also be exposed to excessive noise and vibration, hazardous fumes, fall hazards while accessing or evacuating the plant, and musculoskeletal hazards.  Examples of powered mobile plant used on construction sites are earthmoving machinery (e.g. rollers, graders, scrapers, bobcats), excavators, cranes, hoists, elevating work platforms, concrete placement booms and reach stackers and forklifts.

Mobile plant has been associated with a number of workplace fatalities and serious injuries, the most common being:

  • falls from
  • crushing by
  • run-over by
  • roll-overs of tractors and forklifts; and
  • entanglement in and being trapped between moving parts.

There is also the risk of the mobile plant igniting in flames, visit http://www.whitecardaustralia.com.au/blog/preventing-mobile-plant-fires/ for more about preventing mobile plant fires.


WorkSafe NSW issues Mobile Plant Safety Alert

WorkCover NSW has released a new safety alert which construction employers and workers need to pay attention to.

The WorkCover NSW authority released a new safety alert on working with or around mobile plant in order to make workers aware of the risks associated with this hazard.

Mobile plant includes forklifts, elevating work platforms, delivery vehicles, order pickers, earth moving equipment, prime movers, cranes etc. which all have the ability to cause serious, even fatal injuries to workers working around them or those operating them. Unfortunately these are also commonly used on construction sites and are irreplaceable in many instances.

The alert was prompted by the fact that in the last 5 years in NSW10 workers have been killed and over 2000 injured in accidents involving mobile plant and machinery on construction sites.

In just the last six months, four workers were killed when they were struck by moving plant, while one plant operator was killed when they collided with other mobile plant. Another worker lost his life when the mobile plant he was operating collided with a fixed object

WorkCover NSW advises the following action be employed by employers:

Work health and safety legislation requires PCBUs to ensure that risks to the health and safety of workers and others due to mobile plant (including vehicles) are eliminated or, if this is not possible, minimised so far as is reasonably practicable. PCBUs must consult with workers when they identify hazards and make decisions about ways to eliminate or minimise risks.

PCBUs must also provide workers and others with adequate information, training, instruction or supervision to protect persons from plant-related risks. They must ensure that workers understand site specific safety policies and procedures for their workplace, including any traffic management policies or procedures. This includes workers of other PCBUs who share or utilise the workplace (eg other trades, delivery drivers), and may also apply to visitors to the workplace.

Source: http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/formspublications/publications/Documents/working-with-plant-safety-alert-3987.pdf

The alert also advises that employers ensure effective traffic management procedures be developed to suit the unique requirements of each workplace. The nature of the workplace can determine not only the type and effectiveness of control measures that can be implemented, but also how often these control measures should be reviewed to ensure that they remain effective. Workers should be consulted on this because they can provide insight into the effectiveness of control measures which they are working with each day.

Employers and principal contractors are required under work health and safety legislations to ensure that health and safety risks for workers and the public are reduced or eliminated so far as is reasonable practicable however this is not always possible and so minimising the risk is required to ensure that workers are not placed in dangerous situations.

It is also important for employers to provide workers with adequate information, training and instruction as well as supervise them to protect them from the risks related to mobile plant. Some of the most important considerations include traffic management and separating workers from the hazard if they are not involved in the operation. For more information visit http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/formspublications/publications/Pages/working-with-plant-safety-alert.aspx