According to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, a man has sustained significant crush injuries after a runaway vehicle crushed him at a gate post.
Queensland’s safety regulator confirmed that in “April 2020, a man suffered serious injuries after being crushed by a frontend loader. Initial enquiries found the operator got out of the cabin to untie a hay bale when the vehicle started rolling down a slope. It appears the operator was attempting to re-enter the cabin when he was trapped between the moving plant and a gate post.”
The incident highlights the requirements for assessment of risks associated with runaway vehicles and plant. The consequences of a runaway vehicle incident can result in fatalities hence a considered approach to preventing the incident must form part of a health and safety program.
Safetysure is aware of a range of incidents occurring accross industries involving runaway vehicles. Including:
- The death of a worker in a central Queensland mine where a modified mine vehicle braking system failed;
- Fatal events involving transport operators at loading docks where the vehicle rolled back pinning the operator between the tailgate of the truck and the loading dock;
- A runaway of a delivery driver’s vehicle that resulted in serious injuries to bystanders when the vehicle rolled down a slope.
According to the Queensland safety regulator, in May 2017, a company was fined $60,000 following the death of a worker who was run over by a truck/trailer. The worker was under the back of the trailer checking on bouncing that had occurred while driving. Moments later, the truck/trailer began moving backwards. Both the trailer and the truck rolled over the worker who suffered head and torso injuries which ultimately led to his death.
Again in December 2016, a company was fined $60,000 following the death of a worker who was run over by a vehicle. The incident occurred after the prime mover and trailer appeared to have trouble with releasing its trailer brakes. The worker went to the rear of the trailer and attempted to resolve the problem. When the vehicle began rolling backwards on a slight incline, he tried to re-engage the maxi-brake. Tragically, he was fatally struck by the trailer wheels.
What you can do to prevent vehicle runaway or rollaway?
It’s important that vehicle runaway is considered as a component of your risk management program. That should include both your own vehicles and those visiting your site.
A range of after-market technologies are available that sense and arrest a runaway or rollaway in a vehicle. These systems include handbrake warning devices, pressure sensors that detect air pressure losses in braking systems, alarms that alert operators when leaving the vehicle.
Other solutions include designation of parking areas that are on flat ground, chocking of wheels on vehicles, ensuring personnel do not leave vehicles on slopes.
We woud always recommende that the risk of vehicle rollaway (including both personnel risks and property damage risks) are considered as a component of your health and safety program.
If you’d like assistance with assessing your risks around vehicle or plant rollaway or runaway, please contact one of our consulting team on 1300 087 888.