Truck-related fatalities spark warning from workplace authority

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland issues warning on the need to properly immobilise trucks and trailers.

Truck-related fatalities spark warning from workplace authority
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland says wheel chocks should be used when working near a heavy vehicle.


Queensland’s workplace safety authority is planning an investigation of trucking industry practices in response to incidents where workers have been killed from either a truck or trailer crushing or hitting them.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) says there has been a number of incidents recently because the vehicle or trailer had not been correctly immobilised.

"This was either because the handbrake of the vehicle or wheels chocks weren’t used, or proper load support or a hoist wasn’t used for the vehicle or trailer," the agency says.  

"Consequently, this has led to fatal incidents where workers when have been in the path of a vehicle when it moved and have been hit with enough force to kill them.

WHSQ says other incidents have involved workers being crushed while working under a vehicle or trailer that had not been properly secured.

"WHSQ has issued a safety alert about these types of fatalities, and will be undertaking further investigation and activities about these types of incidents," it says.

In its alert issued to industry, WHSQ lists steps that must be taken if an employee needs to work near a heavy vehicle, such as switching off the motor, applying the handbrake and using wheel chocks.

"Consider installing a handbrake warning system to alert drivers when the handbrake has not been applied (these can be easily retro-fitted)," the department suggests.

It adds that businesses need to ensure an appropriate load support is used when work is being done under heavy vehicles and trailers.

Furthermore, it says risk assessments should be undertaken before work begins, such as establishing an exclusion zone and ensuring workers are properly trained and qualified.

"Before commencing work, identify hazards and assess risks associated with working under and around heavy vehicles or trailers," WHSQ says.

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