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Date PostedOctober 12, 2012

Crushed Worker Left Quadraplegic

Another tragic workplace accident has resulted in a worker being left a quadriplegic after he was crushed by equipment. The company paid a fine of $93,000 but the worker paid with much more. The incident occurred in 2010 when the man was trapped and crushed by a pallet stacking machine. Although the incident did not occur on a construction site, the industry can learn from it because heavy machinery is also a firm fixture on building sites.

Read this post on News.com.au for more information:

Tatiara Seeds Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the state’s Industrial Court to failing to provide and maintain a safe workplace over the accident at Bordertown in February 2010.

A man employed to carry out maintenance and general labour work was trapped and crushed by the robotic palletising system, leaving him confined to a wheelchair for life.

The company admitted it was negligent in allowing a panel in the fence surrounding the compound so that employees could walk in and out without activating safety sensors that would prevent workers being struck, trapped or crushed by the moving parts of the machine.

Source: http://www.news.com.au/national/tatiara-seeds-pty-ltd-fined-over-workplace-accident/story-fndo4dzn-1226489301978

There are a variety of machines and equipment on construction sites that can cause crushing injuries. Moving machinery in particular needs to be addressed. There are a few things construction workers and contractors can keep in mind in order to prevent workers suffering a similar fate to the worker who lost mobility in his legs in the incident at Tatiara Seeds.

The main safety factors to consider when pedestrians and moving machinery and equipment collide on a construction site are signage, separating pedestrians and vehicles, no-go zones, vehicles reversing, vehicle and pedestrian visibility.

  • Separate pedestrians and vehicles

Provide 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. Also don’t allow untrained or inexperienced workers to operate vehicles, machinery or equipment.  Employers should also limit the number of vehicles allowed onto a worksite.

  • Reversing of vehicles should be avoided

Although this is not possible on smaller sites, it should be aspired to. If not smaller sites should make 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.

  • Ensure visibility of vehicles and pedestrians

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.

Warning signs must be clearly and prominently displayed 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.

By ensuring attention to the movement of vehicles and moving machinery/equipment on site many of the crushing incidents that we so often hear of, can be avoided.


Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

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