Safety Authority issues Truck and Trailer Warning

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Following a spate of truck-related fatalities, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland have issued a warning on the need to properly immobilise trucks and trailers when working near or under them.

According to a report on the Workplace Health and Safety Authority Queensland has reminded truck drivers that wheel chocks should be used when working near a heavy vehicle.

The Authority has warned that they will be launching an investigation into trucking industry practices, following a number of incidents in which workers were killed after being hit by a truck or trailer.

A number of these crushing incidents have occurred as a result of the truck or the trailer not being properly immobilised using wheel chocks, the Workplace Health and Safety Authority warned.

In a statement, quoted on, the authority went on to advise:

“This was either because the handbrake of the vehicle or wheels chocks weren’t used, or proper load support or a hoist wasn’t used for the vehicle or trailer,” the agency says.

“Consequently, this has led to fatal incidents where workers when have been in the path of a vehicle when it moved and have been hit with enough force to kill them.

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The Workplace Health and Safety Authority Queensland also highlighted the risks involved when working under a vehicle or trailer that is not properly secured – a number of workers have been crushed as a result. The Authority went on to advise:

“WHSQ has issued a safety alert about these types of fatalities, and will be undertaking further investigation and activities about these types of incidents,” it says.

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In such cases when workers need to be under vehicles or their trailers, an appropriate load support should be utilised, according to the department.

The warning from the agency to the industry also entailed a list of steps that should be taken if a person needs to work in the vicinity of the heavy vehicle. Some of these steps include ensuring the motor is switched off, checking that the handbrake is engaged and utilising wheel chocks as an extra precaution.

The department also went on to suggest that operators consider installing a handbrake warning system to alert drivers when the handbrake is not properly applied. The department advises that these systems can easily be retro-fitted and can be life-saving.

The Safety Authority also advised that as with all workplace hazards, risk assessments should be carried out prior to beginning work near or under heavy vehicles or trailers. Some of the precautions that need to be taken include setting up an exclusion zone and ensuring that all workers are properly trained and qualified according to Australian regulation. The alert concluded with a warning to all operators in the state:

“Before commencing work, identify hazards and assess risks associated with working under and around heavy vehicles or trailers,” WHSQ says.

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