Heavy vehicles and trucks are common fixtures on construction sites because they are invaluable for transporting loads, making the task of workers a little bit easier. But sometimes a useful tool can become an unsuspected and dangerous threat to workers.
SafeWork Northern Territory has just issued a safety alert to make workers aware of the dangers of maintaining work vehicles and machinery. It is crucial that all safety mechanisms are engaged before beginning any maintenance on this equipment to avoid serious injuries or death. Although maintenance work has to be done to ensure these vehicles remain in good working order and safe, the very act of maintaining these machines can be hazardous.
SafeWork was prompted to issue an alert after a worker who was engaging in maintenance work in the engine compartment of a truck died after the cab fell back onto him. The particularly model of vehicle required a locking pin to be inserted into the cab support in order for it to be secured and prevent it from falling back down. In this instance, the worker either did not insert the locking pin or it became dislodged accidentally, either way it resulted in tragedy. Read what happed below with a post from SafetyCulture.com.au:
SafeWork NT has issued a safety alert to remind workers and person’s conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU’s) to properly engage all safety mechanisms before undertaking maintenance work on vehicles and machinery.
A station hand carrying out maintenance work in the engine compartment of a truck received fatal injuries when the cab fell back onto him.
The truck, a Mitsubishi FV418, requires the cab to be tilted up and forward to access the engine compartment. When the cab is tilted forward, a cab support is extended and engaged to hold the tilted cab in place. A locking pin is required to be inserted into the cab support to prevent the cab support from being accidentally disengaged and falling back into place.
The locking pin was either dislodged or not inserted, allowing the cab support to disengage.
Cab support with locking mechanism in place
It is quite surprising that something as small as a locking pin is enough to prevent the big cab from falling and crushing a worker. Although it is so small and seemingly insignificant, without it workers are endangering their lives, as this tragedy proves. The alert by SafeWork went on to describe the steps that should be taken to avoid this kind of incident in the future.
- Before undertaking any maintenance on vehicles or machinery workers should refer to the vehicle or machinery operating manual and follow all safety instructions.
- All safety mechanisms should be engaged and checked before the commencement of maintenance work on vehicles or machinery.
- PCBU’s concerned with the suitability of the inbuilt safety mechanism should consider, in consultation with the manufacturer, additional safety mechanisms such as:
- Using additional cab struts to secure the cab
- Using a cotter pin or similar restraint to secure the locking pin if there are concerns it can be easily dislodged
For further information please contact NT WorkSafe on 1800 019 115 or go to www.worksafe.nt.gov.au