Safety alert issued over loading and unloading skip bins

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.
Sunday, 12 September, 2021 - 11:45
Policy & legislation

WorkSafe Victoria recently issued a safety alert about the hazards and risks associated with lifting waste container skip loaders (skip bins) on and off trucks.

The alert was issued following an incident in which a truck driver was fatally crushed by their truck while collecting a skip bin at a residential property. It is believed the truck rolled forward, crushing the driver against a brick wall.

In a separate incident, a worker was seriously injured while conducting work on hooklift equipment fitted to a truck.

The alert said there is a risk of incidents occurring while using skip bin loading equipment fitted to trucks, and the risk of a truck rolling or overturning increases if the truck is left in gear, the brakes are not engaged or not operational, and/or the truck is parked on a slope.

Risks associated with the operation of hooklifts, such as skip bins dislodging or becoming stuck while partially suspended, increase if:

  • locking devices that secure bins for transport are not maintained
  • mechanical components are in poor condition
  • trailer frames and bin rails are damaged or are not maintained

The alert said there are a number of recommended ways to control risks:

  • Ensure the truck and skip bin loading equipment is fit for purpose to transport, load and unload the skip bin.

  • Identify all potential hazards before using the truck and loading or unloading skip bins onto or off the truck.
  • Conduct pre-operation inspections and tests (incorporating a written checklist and fault report).
  • Carry out any necessary repairs, ensuring that a suitably competent person is used.
  • Regularly inspect, test, service and maintain the truck and any attachments to manufacturer’s specifications using competent persons, including the:
    • truck and trailer brakes, steering and oil levels
    • trailer locking devices, including any hydraulic locking systems and visual and audio alerts
    • mechanical and structural components of skip bin loading equipment, skip bins and bin rails