Safework focus on low-loader trailer safety

Recent fatalities spur safety watchdog incident report

Safework focus on low-loader trailer safety
Low loader involved in incident


Two recent truck driver fatalities involving low loader ramps in New South Wales have prompted an incident alert from safety watchdog SafeWork NSW.

The most recent incident saw a 54-year-old truck driver crushed by a loading ramp while unloading earthmoving equipment from a low loader.

In November 2019, a 55-year-old truck driver sustained fatal injuries after being crushed by a hydraulic powered ramp on a trailer connected to the prime mover he was driving.

There, while unloading two vehicles from the trailer After removing the safety chains from the ramps, one of the ramps has fallen, fatally crushing the driver.

The safety advice arising from that incident, here

SafeWork reiterated to those operating and maintaining low loader trailers, they must make sure:

  • you assume a loading ramp can fall on someone at any time, unless properly restrained
  • you don’t rely on hydraulics or other lowering devices to prevent a ramp falling
  • those involved in the task are properly informed, trained and supervised
  • pre-start checks are done, including inspecting and testing the hydraulic system
  • measures are in place to prevent anyone being in the ‘swing arc’ area when ramps are lowered, raised or unsecured
  • procedures are in place to deal with hydraulic malfunctions, loss of hydraulic oil, hydraulic oil leaks, damage to hydraulics or structural failures
  • ramps are used according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • ramps and other equipment are regularly inspected and maintained by a competent person
  • there are signs at the rear of the vehicle, warning people to stay clear of ramps
  • workers can’t be struck by a falling ramp.


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