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Working near mobile plant

SafeWork SA recently reminded workers of the risks associated with mobile plant in the workplace, following a fatality involving an articulated crane.

SafeWork SA said working in close proximity to mobile plant, such as cranes, forklifts, earth moving equipment, elevating work platforms, delivery vehicles, order pickers and prime movers and cranes, increases the risk of serious injury or fatal incidents.

Worklers were reminded in the alert serious and fatal incidents can occur in a number of situations, including during pedestrian movement near vehicles or plant, reversing and manoeuvring, arrivals or departures, loading or unloading, hitching or unhitching trailers, lowering ramps, mounting or dismounting from vehicles, securing of loads, movement of materials and maintenance work.

Employers and PCBUs must have safe systems of work that identify the risks and the means to eliminate or control those risks to ensure the safety of people working with or near mobile plant. If construction work is carried out at a workplace where there is any movement of powered mobile plant, a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) will need to be developed that identifies the site-specific hazards and the appropriate risk controls.

SafeWork SA provided a list of possible causes of incidents and examples of control measures.

Possible causes:

  • plant operated near persons and utilities;
  • noisy or traffic congested work areas;
  • restricted vision or unfamiliar site ;
  • plant working on uneven or unstable surface;
  • high speed or reversing plant;
  • unauthorised or uncontrolled worksite access/egress (exclusion zones);
  • competency of the plant operator;
  • non-use of taglines;
  • inadequate positive communication;
  • operator blind spots;
  • poor space planning;
  • plant reach not taken into consideration.

Control measures:

  • Identification of any traffic hazards and implementation of a traffic management plan that controls areas of interaction between people and mobile plant (eg: exclusion zones, spotters, traffic controllers);
  • Alarms for moving plant are operational and appropriate for the site conditions;
  • Mobile plant movement plans are communicated regularly to all site personnel, visitors and contractors;
  • Traffic speed is clearly identified and controlled;
  • Plant operators are competent and have the relevant licences;
  • Workers and others receive adequate training, instructions and supervision to prevent people from plant-related risks with the specific work site;
  • Loads are adequately secured.

Contact: 1300 365 255 or visit safework.sa.gov.au

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