Over the past decade, 16 people have died working with or around machinery such cranes, front end loaders, elevated work platforms, forklifts, skid steer loaders, concrete trucks and other types of powered mobile plant.
Which is why WorkSafe is targeting poor safety around mobile plant as part of a new campaign to reduce fatalities and injuries on construction sites.
Throughout May, inspectors will be checking to ensure that employers and contractors have identified the hazards associated with this type of machinery and are controlling the risks to workers and the public.
WorkSafe’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said the construction sector continued to have a high number of workplace injuries and fatalities every year.
“Last year seven construction workers lost their lives, and a number of these tragic incidents involved vehicles or powered mobile plant being operated on site,” Ms Williams said.
Ms Williams said as the sector commonly used a vast range of heavy and mobile machinery - often for short periods of time - meant construction sites were dynamic and the hazards needed to be constantly reassessed.
“As construction sites change and develop, so do the risks to people on the site,” she said.
“Part of the obvious risks with mobile machinery is that they move from place to place at different times, which means managing the risks to employees and site visitors must be an ongoing process.
“That’s why it is critical that employers outline to workers the work that needs to be done, the potential risks involved, and identify how the risks must be controlled. Appropriate training and clear exclusion zones are essential, because pedestrians and powered mobile machinery simply do not mix.”
Ms Williams said other safety measures that should be considered include:
- Operators must be appropriately trained and competent
- Ensure machinery is regularly inspected and maintained
- If a traffic management plan is required, ensure it is reviewed and updated as the site changes
- Workers and members of the public (such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorists) must be isolated and separated from powered machinery and vehicles
- Ensure appropriate signage is in place and erect barriers where appropriate
- Identify and control visibility issues, particularly if lighting is poor (eg. fog, rain, night works)
WorkSafe guidance on powered mobile plant can be found here:
Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email email@example.com or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.