NT WorkSafe recently issued a safety alert about the practice of transporting excavator attachments in a large excavator bucket, and the risk associated with the attachments dislodging and causing serious injury if not securely restrained.
The alert was issued following an incident in which a 30-year-old worker was fatally injured while loading an excavator onto a float in the yard of a hire company.
At the time of the incident, the excavator was fitted with a batter bucket carrying two smaller buckets and a single tine ripper.
The attachments were not secured before the excavator was maneuvered onto the float for transportation.
During final positioning of the excavator onto the float, one of the smaller buckets dislodged from the batter bucket and struck the worker who had come onto the float deck while the operator was still positioning the excavator.
The alert found that there were a number of contributing factors to the incident:
Storing and transporting smaller attachments in the larger bucket unsecured is a widespread industry practice, and it is common to see smaller attachments preloaded in the larger buckets ready for hire.
The attachments were not secured to the batter bucket before the excavator was maneuvered onto the float.
There was no policy or procedure at the hire yard for customers to pick up and transport hired equipment.
The alert subsequently recommended a number of actions: