On 9 January 2018, a worker was run over by a vehicle while servicing it on sloping ground. Early investigations indicate the worker was underneath the vehicle while the driver was sitting in the cab with the engine running. It appears the vehicle has then moved forward unexpectedly and run over the mechanic. The injured man was then transported to Rockhampton Base Hospital for treatment.
The vehicle involved has been seized and investigations into this incident are continuing.
Preventing a similar incident
A number of Queensland workers have been seriously injured or killed due to a vehicle not being effectively immobilised while work is being done underneath it.
The risk of the vehicle moving in an uncontrolled or unexpected manner must be managed by ensuring appropriate controls are put in place. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Ensure the hand brake is on.
- Wheels are chocked on both sides of the vehicle using serviceable purpose-built chocks.
- The keys are removed from the vehicle's ignition and secured.
- Vehicle is raised on a pillar hoist with all wheels off the ground.
- Work takes place on a flat even surface that is able to bear the general load of the vehicle and is able to bear the point load of jacks/lifting equipment.
- A lockout system or warning sign is in place to prevent the vehicle from being started, or the vehicle or any part of it being inadvertently moved.
- The driver is fully aware of the mechanic's presence and requirements.
- Install a handbrake warning system to alert drivers when the handbrake has not been applied (these can be easily retro-fitted).
Information on preventing similar incidents involving heavy vehicles and trailers hitting or crushing workers is available from the safety alert listed below.
Since 2012, there has been 10 work-related fatalities involving a person being run over by a vehicle or some other type of machinery. In that period, 18 enforcement notices (10 prohibition notices and eight improvement notices) were issued in relation to a person being run over by a vehicle or other type of machinery.
In the same period, a total of 199 claims were accepted for workers injured due to being run over by a vehicle or some other type of machinery, with half of these being of a serious nature resulting in five or more workdays compensated.
Prosecutions and compliance
In May 2017, a company was fined $60,000 following the death of a worker who was run over by a truck/trailer. The worker was observed lying under the back of the trailer to check on bouncing that had occurred while driving. Moments later, the truck/trailer began moving backwards. The trailer wheels rolled over the worker, followed by the wheels of the truck. He received head and torso injuries which ultimately resulted in his death.
In December 2016, a company was fined $60,000 following the death of a worker who was run over by a vehicle. The vehicle, a prime mover and trailer, appeared to have trouble with releasing its trailer brakes. The deceased went to the rear of the trailer and attempted to release a trailer brake. When the vehicle began rolling backwards on a slight incline, he tried to re-engage the maxi-brake. In doing so, he was struck by the trailer wheels.
Six months earlier, a company was fined $120,000 after a worker who was operating a six tonne mobile 'yard' crane to perform load-shifting of steel product was killed. The worker was seen running alongside the crane which was travelling down a slope, uncontrolled, with no person in the operator's seat. He was subsequently struck or tripped, run over and killed by the crane. The worker was not licensed to operate this type of crane.