Safety alert issued over Palfinger stabiliser locking system

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Monday, 26 July, 2021 - 11:15
Policy & legislation
National News

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland recently issued a safety alert highlighting the risk of unintentional extension of stabilisers on vehicle loading cranes and, in particular the operation of the stabiliser locking system on some models of Palfinger vehicle loading cranes.

In 2020 the left-hand stabiliser on a Palfinger PK 10000 VLC extended while the truck was being driven and struck another vehicle.

While no injuries occurred, the alert said the incident had the potential to cause a fatality.

While the cause of the 2020 failure has not been determined, an initial investigation indicates the truck driver made an attempt to check the stabiliser was locked before driving.

The vehicle loading crane involved in the incident was manufactured in 2004 and was not fitted with a warning device in the truck cabin to warn the operator that the stabilisers were extended.

The alert recommended a number of required actions:

  1. All vehicle loading cranes: All vehicle loading cranes should be fitted with both a primary and secondary locking system fitted to each stabiliser and a visual and audible warning device in the truck cabin that warns the truck driver when stabilisers are not locked in the transport position. Cranes receiving a major inspection in accordance to AS 2550.11 Cranes, hoist and winches – Safe use Part 11 vehicle loading cranes should have these features fitted if they are not already provided on the crane.
  2. Palfinger cranes - Older model cranes with no springs on plastic safety latch: On cranes where the spring is unable to be fitted due to the crane design, Palfinger Australia should be approached for advice.
  3. Palfinger cranes – Inadvertent by-passing of the plastic safety latch: Provide workers with additional training to reinforce the need to follow the Palfinger operating instructions so that the safety latch is not engaged when the stabiliser is in the extended position.
  4. Palfinger cranes - Cranes with broken springs on plastic safety latches: Have the broken parts replaced and provide workers with additional training.

As an alternative, the alert said to fit a stabiliser warning device, that detects the stabiliser in the locked position for transport and warns the driver in the truck cabin if this is not the case.

Operators should be trained in the safe operation of the specific make and model of the vehicle loading crane they operate.

Training should include the correct deployment and packing away of stabilisers, in accordance with the manufacturer’s operating instructions. A documented record of the training, summarising the content of the training should also be maintained.