WA DMIRS probing fatal truck trailer incident

Qube statement expresses sadness at death of truck driver in 2019

WA DMIRS probing fatal truck trailer incident
Image from the incident report


The Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (WA DMIRS) confirms it is still examining the death of a truck driver operating a trailer at a mine site in 2019.

On September 11, 2019, the mechanism used to open and close a tarpaulin cover on a triple road train trailer failed while a truck driver employed by Qube Logistics was in the process of closing the cover.

Qube advises of the incident in its interim report to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

"Qube was deeply saddened by the death of an employee who died in hospital after being injured loading material at a mine site in Western Australia (WA)," it says.

"The WA Department of Mines are investigating the matter and Qube management has been working closely with workplace health and safety investigators to help them determine the cause of the incident which related to mechanical failure of a load covering mechanism on a Qube vehicle."

DMIRS acting director mines safety Christina Folley confirms to ATN that the probe is ongoing.

"The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) is continuing to investigate an incident that occurred at a mine outside Norseman on 11 September 2019.

"The worker was flown to Perth by the Royal Flying Doctor Service on the 11 September after being stabilised on-site. DMIRS inspectors attended the mine site on 12 September 2019.

"The department is aware the injured worker died at Royal Perth Hospital on 18 September 2019.

"DMIRS is unable to comment on the incident while the investigation is ongoing.

"The department published a Significant Incident Report to raise industry awareness of important safety issues relating to the incident."

The incident report explains the operating switch for the tarpaulin cover was situated in a location that placed the operator in the line of fire when the tarp tube failed during operation of the covering mechanism, and the motor and swing arm detached from the tarp tube in the process.

"To close the cover, the tarpaulin cover is rolled from one side to the other over the top of the trailer while the tarpaulin tube (tarp tube) is rotated by a hydraulic motor located on the end of a spring loaded arm.

"As the cover approached the closed position on the top of the trailer, the tarp tube fractured.

"The combined tension and weight of the motor and spring arm caused the motor end of the arm to move through a downwards arc, ending up at the level of the cover operating switch at the front corner of the trailer.

"It appears this may have struck the truck driver who was found unconscious, and later died in hospital."

It also outlines the following actions to operators minimise the risk of a similar incident:

  • conduct a risk assessment of trailer covering systems paying particular attention to the risk of an operator being exposed to hazards during opening and closing of the cover. Ensure all actions are implemented.
  • assess if the tarp roller operating switch is in a location that places the operator in the line of fire should a failure occur and implement controls to manage the risk.
  • ensure inspection and maintenance is carried out as required by the manufacturer or a competent person and all connection points are inspected.
  • ensure the trailer covers are being operated within design specifications.
  • promote hazard reporting and appropriate response to reduce the potential for inaction.

The full report can be read here.


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