QLD: Worker’s hand crushed by mobile piling rig

Wednesday, 25 July, 2018 - 13:15
Incidents & prosecutions
Industry news
National News

A worker’s hand was crushed when a mobile piling rig he was operating in crane mode rolled over on a project which involved replacing a wooden railway bridge.

Initial inquiries indicate that the piling rig was carrying a load across the tracks when it rolled over on to its side, squashing the cab and crushing his hand.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said mobile plant overturning always has the potential for serious injury from being struck, pinned or crushed.

The risk of overturning is increased when the plant, such as a piling rig, is raised in height or operating on soft sloping, or uneven ground. Factors that may affect the stability of the crane include:

  • Poor ground conditions such as unstable ground, nearby trenches and underground services
  • Ground slope in the travel direction and side slope
  • Travelling with a suspended load too high (in the case of a piling rig this can include the hammer or other parts that can be raised or lowered)
  • Failure to use or fully extend outriggers or stabilisers
  • Failure to level the plant
  • Rapid slewing
  • High wind conditions
  • Excessive travel speed, particularly when a load is being carried
  • Load movement when travelling due to the nature of the load or because it isn’t secured.

In 2016, a company was fined $180,000 after a worker was fatally crushed by a vehicle loading crane. He was delivering timber poles to a construction site on his own. He arrived at the job, engaged the truck’s stabiliser legs and began to connect the hydraulic lines from the crane to the log grab attachment.

While he was doing this, he had the remote control for the crane around his waist. He had difficulty connecting the hydraulic lines and in attempting to connect the final line he inadvertently struck the remote lever causing the crane to quickly rotate towards him, pinning him against the stabiliser leg and fatally crushing him.

In 2016 a company was also fined $120,000 following the death of a mobile crane operator. The unlicensed worker was instructed to shift steel products using the crane. While attempting this task, the worker was observed alongside the crane which was travelling, uncontrolled, down a slope. He either tripped or was struck, then was run over and killed by the crane.