WorkCover NSW is urging all businesses and workers to be safe when working with and around vehicles after the fourth worker since June 2012 was killed last week.

The latest incident occurred on Tuesday, 19 February when a worker at a grain storage facility near Wee Waa was struck by a reversing front end loader while sweeping grain.

General Manager of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division, John Watson, said the incident was a tragic reminder of the inherent risks of working with or near mobile plant.

“Work involving mobile plant is high risk and can be catastrophic if safe work systems are not in place to ensure the safety of everyone in close proximity,” Mr Watson said.

“Every fatality affects a family, friends and work colleagues, and the local community will be grieving after last week’s incident.

“Over the last five years 10 workers have been killed and 2,089 workers injured at cost of approximately $39 million to the NSW Workers Compensation System.

“Workplace incidents are avoidable however if safe work systems are in place and followed.

“Four workers dying after being hit by moving vehicles in just over six months is too many and we’re issuing an urgent plea to all workers and business that use mobile plant to review their traffic control procedures to ensure another tragic incident is prevented.”

Other recent incidents where workers were killed after being struck by vehicles include a worker at a paper recycling plant at Smithfield being struck by a reversing front end loader in December 2012, a plumber being struck by a reversing pantec truck at an Artarmon industrial estate in August 2012 and an off-sider hit by a car in while they directing a reversing truck at a Berowra service station in June 2012.

WorkCover NSW is recommending businesses take the following steps to minimise the risks associated with working with mobile plant and equipment:

  • Develop traffic control procedures which separate pedestrians from plant and equipment
  • Develop Safe Work Method Statements which describe how various tasks should be undertaken when working near vehicular traffic
  • Provide appropriate training and supervision to operators of mobile plant and equipment
  • Ensure mobile plant and equipment is suitable for the tasks to be performed and maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions

“When implemented effectively, these systems assist in ensuring the safety of workers and others around mobile plant and equipment,” Mr Watson added.

For more information on mobile plant safety, see the Moving Plant on Construction Sites Safety Alert or the Moving Plant on Construction Sites Code of Practice. You can also contact WorkCover on 13 10 50.

A WorkCover NSW publication