Interagency blitz planned on Qld vehicle loading cranes


Fatal incidents and other accidents highlight safety and compliance issues

Interagency blitz planned on Qld vehicle loading cranes
Vehicle loading cranes are to be the subject of a Queensland safety operation

 

Queensland authorities are to look closely at firms with vehicle loading cranes (VLC) and related equipment following concerning incidents in the state.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) and the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) are to conduct an enforcement campaign on the issue.

The blitz, starting in August, aims to ensure VLC owners and operators:

are complying with relevant work health and safety and road safety requirements

have implemented adequate controls to reduce the likelihood of unintentional extension of manually operated stabilisers and outriggers.

"The campaign will include on-road inspections of VLCs and assessments of work systems," WHSQ says.

"Inspectors will take enforcement actions if they identify unmanaged risks relating to VLCs.

"This may include compliance notices and immediately prohibiting the use of the VLC until risk controls are implemented and verified."

WHSQ points to a number of incidents pointing to the need for action.

In February, a truck fitted with a vehicle loading crane was driven along a road with its stabiliser extended. The stabiliser struck a parked vehicle and a worker standing behind this vehicle was crushed and killed.

"It is not yet known why the stabiliser was unsecured and investigations are continuing," WHSQ says.

It also notes two recent fatal incidents where a truck has been driven without the driver being aware of an extended stabiliser.

Earlier, in 2013 a manually-operated stabiliser on a truck, fitted with a vehicle load crane, unintentionally extended while travelling on a public road and killed a cyclist, while two years ago, an outrigger on an amusement ride trailer swung out and hit an oncoming vehicle, killing the driver.

From 2009-10 to 2016-17 there were 16 accepted workers’ compensation claims involving a collision or contact with a stabiliser arm.

Most injuries involved people either being crushed or pinched by a stabiliser arm or tripping on a stabiliser arm or pad.

Since 2012, there have been 17 incidents involving the mechanical failure of an outrigger/stabiliser arm.

These include an outrigger/stabiliser arm being operated without a lock-pin, or an outrigger/stabiliser arm that may have sunk in unstable ground, along with five incidents involving a truck mounted stabiliser arm or outrigger swinging loose during transit.

Similar incidents have occurred elsewhere in Australia and internationally.

"Owners of vehicle loading cranes are strongly encouraged to retrofit units with a warning system to indicate when the stabilisers are not locked in the transport position," WHSQ says.

"The 2014 version of the Australian Standard AS1418.11-2014 Part 11: Vehicle-loading cranes specifies the provision of an indicator to show that the stabilisers are not locked in the transport position.

"Cranes manufactured to comply with the current standard should include a warning system visible and audible to the driver (i.e. a warning light with a buzzer in the truck cabin.

It is considered to be reasonably practicable to retrofit systems that provide an equivalent level of safety to a crane manufactured after 2014 which includes the warning systems specified by the Australian Standard.

"The feasibility of fitting an upgraded warning and indicating system to older vehicle loading cranes should be addressed during the annual inspection and maintenance program for the crane."

ATN has sought an understanding on the timing of the operation.

 

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