Safety warning issued over crush incidents when loading/unloading

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.
Thursday, 26 March, 2020 - 14:45
Policy & legislation

Workplace Health & Safety Queensland recently issued an incident alert after an interstate truck driver suffered multiple leg fractures when a stone slab fell off the back of a truck.

It appears the stone was secured to an ‘A’ frame with straps and early investigations indicate that when the driver removed the straps, the stone slabs toppled and struck him.

In February, a truck driver suffered severe crush injuries when a pack of timber boards being delivered to a timber yard fell onto him.

Early investigations indicate the pack of timber caught onto an adjacent one when being unloaded, which caused the strapping to snap and the timber fell onto the driver.

The alert said that loading and unloading trucks at workplaces can be hazardous, depending on the type of material being handled, nature of the task, and the weather conditions.

The site location may also present other unique risks, including varying terrain and people near of the load/unload area.

While there is considerable guidance for securing loads to prevent them from moving while a truck is driving on a road, there is less guidance on controlling the risk of preventing loads moving while loading or unloading.

In situations where materials (such as stone slabs and packs of timber) are delivered, a safe system of work for loading and unloading trucks should be implemented and maintained.

From 1 July 2014 to 14 February 2020, there were 63 incidents involving a crush injury sustained, or the risk of a crush injury being sustained, from objects falling off trucks.

Of these, there were 38 events (60 per cent) involving injury or illness requiring a person to have in hospital treatment.

For the same period, 275 improvement notices and 83 prohibition notices were issued for offences involving injuries sustained by, or managing the risk of, a crush incident due to loads falling from trucks.