Apprentice death prompts SafeWork young worker warning

Employer care urged after auto electrician dies while working on truck

Apprentice death prompts SafeWork young worker warning
SafeWork image of the truck involved in the incident with the cab lifted


SafeWork NSW is urging employers to manage the risks associated with truck maintenance, particularly when young or inexperienced workers are involved, after the death of an 18-year-old worker near Dubbo recently.

The apprentice auto electrician died in an incident at a workshop in Brocklehurst mid-January.

SafeWork says the young worker was found trapped between the cab of the truck and its engine.

"SafeWork NSW is investigating an incident on January 15 where an 18-year-old apprentice auto electrician died after becoming trapped between the cab of a truck and its engine, at a workshop in Brocklehurst, north of Dubbo," a spokesperson tells ATN.

"SafeWork is preparing a report for the coroner."

In its incident report, SafeWork reminds businesses to implement ‘reasonably practicable’ control measures to manage the risks associated with working under elevated truck cabins, which include developing safe systems that ensure:

• only a competent person carries out maintenance work under an elevated cabin, according to manufacturer’s instructions

• a mechanical stop such as a safety bar, suitably designed prop or stand, is locked in position to eliminate the risk of accidental movement or dislodgment

• controls for raising and lowering the cabin are clearly marked and can’t be accidentally operated

• the system is isolated eg. the truck is turned off and keys removed from ignition

• hydraulics and mechanical parts are regularly inspected and maintained by a competent person

• worn or damaged parts are repaired or replaced

• workers are trained.

Recent truck-related workplace deaths in Victoria spurred a WorkSafe alert

In particular, when young workers are involved, SafeWork urges employers consider their:

• work experience and training

• ability to cope with unexpected, stressful situations

• knowledge and understanding of workplace rights and responsibilities

• willingness to speak up when they have an issue.

"Under work health and safety laws employers must provide the necessary information, training and supervision to all workers so they can perform their work safely," the safety authority notes.

"Training should be an ongoing process for all workers."


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