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SafeWork NSW issues heavy vehicle incident reports

Three recent fatal events result in workplace probes


SafeWork NSW has released a series of incident reports addressing the transport and maintenance industries after a recent spate of workplace fatalities.

While the agency notes investigations to determine causes and circumstances may be ongoing, with further information pending, the documents provide recommendations on how best to manage risks in order to minimise harmful events.

In the most recent incident on June 24, a 58-year-old truck driver was injured fatally at a waste recycling facility at Camellia when, after exiting the cabin of a truck, he was pinned between the cabin and the door of the truck as it rolled into concrete blocks.

Regarding that incident, SafeWork says “businesses must consider ‘reasonably practicable’ control measures to manage the risk of uncontrolled movements (roll away) of vehicles, including cars, trucks, buses, vans, forklifts, tractors, mobile cranes etc.”.

Its recommendations include:

  • park the vehicle on level ground. Where it is not reasonably practicable to park the vehicle on level ground, be aware of the limitations of the vehicle including the maximum slope of the supporting surface and what to do when parking on a gradient.
  • always apply the parking brake when exiting the vehicle
  • ensure the vehicle is inspected and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • be familiar with the components and limitations of the braking system that may cause unintentional or unintentional release of the brakes
  • consider implementing aftermarket controls that minimise the risk of uncontrolled movement of vehicles, (eg include seat sensor interlocked brakes or fail safe braking systems)
  • where it is not reasonably practicable to employ engineering controls, implement lower level controls such as alarm systems and/or operating procedures
  • When acquiring vehicles, consider models and options that eliminate or minimise the risk of uncontrolled movement
  • develop site specific parking locations and procedures in consultation with workers
  • ensure workers have the necessary training, experience and supervision to identify hazards to control the risks associated with the uncontrolled movement of vehicles
  • routinely monitor and review all control measures.

Read about the NSW initiative to reduce transport industry injuries, here

Meanwhile, on May 23, a worker was greasing a tipper truck after undertaking deliveries when they raised the tipper body on the truck and leant over the passenger-side between the chassis rail and the tipper body.

The tray descended and the worker sustained fatal crush injuries.

In a similar incident a week earlier on May 15, a truck driver was fatally injured when he became trapped between the bottom well deck and the chassis rail of a heavy vehicle transport trailer in a carpark at Kirrawee.

For both, SafeWork NSW says: “Manage the risks when carrying out inspections or doing maintenance/repair work underneath raised tipping or tilting trays on trucks or trailers.”

Its recommendations include:

  • safe systems of work are developed and implemented before starting work to minimise the risk of working under a tipper tray or raised ramp
  • maintenance activities are carried out by a competent person in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • work or inspections are not undertaken between a raised tipper tray/raised ramp and the vehicle chassis rails, unless the tray is supported by a mechanical stop, such as a safety bar correctly applied, or suitably designed props or stands
  • wood is never used to support an elevated tipper tray/raised ramp
  • limiter cables are protected from inadvertent activation by the use of shrouds or guarding
  • controls for raising and lowering the tipper tray are clearly marked and protected from inadvertent operation, and the system is isolated (e.g. 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
  • new vehicles have safeguards fitted to the tipper tray/ramp system, such as built-in props/stops to secure the tray/ramp when elevated.


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