Safety alert issued after rollover crushes traffic controller

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Saturday, 23 July, 2022 - 12:00
Policy & legislation

WorkSafe Victoria recently issued a safety alert about the importance of managing the risks associated with tip trucks and trailers following a recent fatality.

Incidents involving tipper truck and trailer rollovers continue to occur across Victorian workplaces. Most rollovers occur during tipping activities due to the instability of the truck or trailer on uneven, unstable or inclined ground.

In a recent incident, a traffic controller was fatally injured when the trailer of a tip truck rolled while unloading gravel into a culvert, the trailer was fully elevated.

The risks to persons in proximity of a truck or trailer and its fall zone can be catastrophic, and the safety alert said hazards that may contribute to instability of tipper trucks and trailers include:

  • tipping on uneven, unstable or inclined ground
  • repetitive tipping in the same spot
  • unloading on a decline, with the truck cabin lower than the trailer body
  • large volumes of solid or wet material sticking to the trailer body can alter the centre of gravity when the trailer body is elevated
  • low traction surfaces
  • overhead structures
  • faulty or misused braking systems
  • nearby mobile or fixed plant
  • moving the vehicle whilst the body is elevated or having the trailer dolly at an angle to the body


The risk of a tipper truck or trailer rollover increases the higher the trailer body is elevated, and longer and larger trailers often need to be elevated higher, decreasing the stability and increasing the risk of a rollover.

To reduce the risks associated with tipper trucks and trailers becoming unstable during unloading, the alert said employers should:

  • select plant that provides increased levels of stability, for example, conveyors, walking floors, belly dumpers, pusher/ejector plant, side tippers
  • ensure the tipping surface area is level, compacted and stable
  • ensure there is adequate space to align the tipper
  • use trailers with non-stick liners to reduce the height the trailer body needs to be elevated
  • install tailgate interlocks to prevent elevating the trailer body unless the tailgate is unlocked
  • consider installing an inclinometer
  • establish appropriate safe systems of work to ensure:
    • all loads are evenly distributed within the trailers and weight limits are complied with
    • pedestrian exclusion zones are established around unloading areas particularly behind and adjacent to a truck whilst tipping
    • there is a clear process of spotting and communicating between the driver and a spotter. The spotter can monitor the tipping process from outside the exclusion zone and alert the driver if materials become stuck.
    • the trailer is not moved or rocked whilst the body is elevated.