Following a number of incidents Workplace Health and Safety Queensland have launched a campaign focusing on falls from trucks. This is an issue that isn’t often associated with truck safety, which is probably one of the reasons why it is happening so often, drivers in particular don’t have enough awareness on the issue. Even workers involved with loading and unloading of vehicles should pay careful attention to this campaign as they are also at risk of falling.
The consistently high number of injuries and fatalities that keep occurring due to workers falling from trucks has resulted in Workplace Health and Safety Queensland improving its efforts to ensure workplaces are managing the risk of these falls adequately.
One such accident took place in September this year when a man in his fifties sustained a suspected fracture to his leg and another to his arm after he fell from a grain truck he was driving. The man was lucky enough to receive timely treatment as the following excerpt from a post on Qt.com.au points out:
RACQ CareFlight Rescue’s Sunshine Coast-based helicopter was tasked on a hospital transfer to airlift the injured man around 3.30pm.
CareFlight flew to Mundubbera Hospital to retrieve the patient.
He was then transferred to Nambour General Hospital for further medical treatment.
The patient travelled in a stable condition.
On their website Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) said that of the 3100 serious injury claims from falls from trucks between 2009 and 2011, half led to truckies requiring an average six weeks off work.
The organisation also said that in the 8 years to 30 June 2011, 26 workers died after falling from a vehicle, mostly from trucks. In fact 70 per cent of these accidents involved falling from trucks and that equated to at least 18 fatalities. According to the post there has since not been any improvement in the number of workers killed each year since due to falls from height.
WHSQ began the campaign last year by holding 30 workshops throughout the state examining the management of risks of workers falling from vehicles. The workshops continued this year on-site and involved a number of business representatives walking around their own work sites and identifying falls risks on their trucks, trailers and loading areas.
Those businesses who participated then implemented procedures to reduce the falls risks. We can look forward to case studies of 12 of the cases being published later this year. These case studies will provide more detail on the processed taken to reduce the falls risks.
WHSQ inspectors currently are paying visits to workplaces where vehicle loading and unloading takes place to be able to assess how well businesses are managing these falls risks. WHSQ explained that these visits involve communication between the inspector, the employer and workers.
Anyone who wants more information should visit www.worksafe.qld.gov.au
Or call 1300 362 128