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Loading and unloading mobile plant

Powered mobile plant such as forklifts and earthmoving machinery are frequently involved in serious incidents on construction sites. This film explains how to control the risks of loading and unloading powered mobile plant.

Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 151MB)

  • Read transcript
    • Voice over: Powered mobile plant such as forklifts and earthmoving machinery are frequently involved in serious incidents on construction sites.

      In one case, a worker was killed when a forklift fell while being unloaded from a trailer. Just weeks later, another worker had a near miss when an excavator fell from the loading ramps while being unloaded.

      There are around 200 serious injuries involving mobile plant in the construction industry every year.

      Loading and unloading powered mobile plant without securing the loading ramps is extremely dangerous.

      Don't let this happen in your workplace. Manage the risks when loading and unloading mobile plant.

      All identified hazards and controls associated with high risk construction work, including working in and around powered mobile plant, must be listed in your safe work method statement. The safe work method statement must be developed before the work starts.

      Hazards on construction sites can change as the work progresses. Sometimes this means updating or introducing new controls throughout the day. It is important to plan for this where possible, and ensure that workers and supervisors communicate and consult with each other to identify new hazards as they arise.

      Always check the ramps for bends or cracks before they are used. Never use damaged ramps or fixing components.

      Soft or boggy ground conditions and sloping or uneven terrain can affect the stability of the ramps when loading or unloading powered mobile plant. Set the ramps on hard, level surfaces wherever possible.

      If there is a slight slope, set up so that the front of vehicle is on the higher side of the slope. Never set the ramps up on a side slope.

      The ramps must be properly secured to the vehicle using fixing components such as pins or R-clips that are supplied or recommended by the ramp manufacturer.

      Make sure the ramps are load rated and suitable for the item of plant being loaded or unloaded. You need to know the total weight of the plant, including attachments, to make sure the ramps are not overloaded.

      Always use the plant's seatbelt or restraining device when loading or unloading.

      Have procedures in place to make sure other people do not go near the plant while it is being loaded or unloaded.

      On a busy site or in a public space, an exclusion zone should be set up with controls to prevent access by unauthorised people. Controls can include:

      • physical barriers
      • clear signage; and
      • the use of a spotter.

      Keep your workers safe when loading and unloading mobile plant.

      Work safe. Home safe.


      RUN TIME: 3 mins 21 seconds

Last updated
13 October 2016

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