Worker deaths prompt truck safety reminder

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, 1 August, 2022 - 12:00
Incidents & prosecutions

WorkSafe Victoria is reminding employers and workers of the hazards involved in working around trucks after four workers died in separate incidents over the past two months.

On 11 July, a 29-year-old diesel mechanic died after he was run over while working underneath a B-double trailer in Werribee South.

It was the ninth workplace fatality involving loading, unloading or working around trucks in the past 12 months and the fifth this year:

  • On 5 July, a 55-year-old worker died after he was crushed between a tip truck and frontend loader while unloading grain pellets at a property in Cowwarr.
  • On 22 June, a 64-year-old traffic controller died in Wahring after a truck trailer tipped on him while unloading gravel.
  • On 25 May, a 54-year-old farm worker was crushed while attempting to unload a bulk seed bag into a semi-trailer at Crowlands.
  • A 60-year-old driver died in hospital on 21 January after suffering severe head injuries when he fell from the top of a truck at a grain depot in Maffra.

Another two workers died when they were struck by falling loads or equipment, a worker died when a truck rolled while loading a skip and another worker suffered fatal injuries after falling from a trailer.

Two workers were also seriously injured while loading hot wax onto a tanker in West Melbourne recently.

WorkSafe Victoria executive director health and safety Narelle Beer urged employers to check their safety processes and do everything they could to reduce hazards around loading and unloading trucks.

“Whether trucks are making deliveries to a construction site, on a farm, or manoeuvring around a depot, wherever trucks are operating employers must take all reasonable steps to maintain a safe workplace,” Beer said.

“The risks of becoming trapped, being crushed or falling from heights need to be taken very seriously. We’ve also seen a number of incidents where workplaces did not have adequate traffic management plans in place to reduce the risks from moving trucks, plant or nearby traffic, resulting in serious injuries.”

Recently WorkSafe has been targeting activity involving heavy vehicles across all industries. Inspectors are visiting workplaces focusing on activities around loading and unloading, including preventing falls from vehicles, objects falling, vehicle roll-aways and being hit by other vehicles, forklifts or animals.