Safety warning issued after heavy vehicle modifications cause major defect

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.
Monday, 6 December, 2021 - 12:30
Policy & legislation
South Australia

SafeWork SA recently issued a safety alert highlighting the importance of ensuring aftermarket modifications to plant are fit for purpose and do not cause defects.

The alert was issued after the regulator was made aware of a heavy vehicle in South Australia fitted with an aftermarket modification resulting in a major defect of its lifting equipment.

The lifting equipment showed significant structural cracking, exposing workers and members of the public to a serious risk of injury.

Although no injuries occurred, the alert reminded businesses that inadequately designed and assessed modifications could result in a catastrophic failure of the plant while under load structural cracking.

SafeWork SA said heavy vehicle operators and persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) should ensure:

  • Lifting equipment is rated as per the recommendations of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). If the OEM is unavailable to consult, equipment must be rated and used as per the recommendation of a competent person
  • Lifting equipment is serviced, maintained and repaired as per the recommendations of the OEM, or a competent person
  • Modifications to any plant must be in accordance with relevant recognised published technical standards
  • Modifications must be compliant with applicable National and State legislative codes
  • Modifications must be performed or supervised by a competent person for the purpose of re-rating
  • Risk assessments are undertaken for any aspect of the plant to which modifications are proposed and to the extent that those modifications affect the plant
  • The modifications performed are fit for purpose
  • Operation and Maintenance procedures are updated to capture any modifications
  • Workers are trained and assessed as competent in the use of plant
  • You are aware of your duties as a designer, importer, reseller, design verifier under the Work Health and Safety Act and Regulations 2012 (SA).