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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters



Safeguard Magazine

INCIDENT INVESTIGATION—Malfunctioning tailgate

LESSONS FROM A RECENT WORKPLACE INCIDENT.

THE INCIDENT:

A truck operator died while unloading 10-tonnes of palletised animal feed which fell on him from a truck

THE INJURIES:

The driver was crushed to death by the weight of the load.

THE CAUSES:

  • • 
    The truck had a mechanism in the cab that allowed the driver to release the tailgate. When the mechanism malfunctioned it appears the driver went to the rear of the vehicle and manually released the tailgate’s locking hooks.
  • • 
    The truck’s tailgate locking mechanisms had a history of failing to release when activated from the cab.
  • • 
    The driver had tried to carry out his own repairs but was not successful.
  • • 
    Other employees were aware of the problem but it was not reported to the company.
  • • 
    As a consequence the truck operator was put in a dangerous situation of being in the path of a falling load.

THE LESSONS:

  • • 
    Many drivers take unnecessary risks with malfunctioning tailgates, mistakenly believing that they are safe and can be used as normal. If there are problems they should be reported immediately and repairs should be carried out by qualified service personnel.
  • • 
    Regular inspection and repair (if necessary) of tailgate locking mechanisms
  • • 
    Vehicle inspections carried out by qualified persons.
  • • 
    Driver-awareness training focusing on the dangers of working behind a raised tipping body.
  • • 
    Raising awareness of the dangers of including of loads being released suddenly and without warning.
  • • 
    Installation of a secondary latching system on the side of the trailer.
  • • 
    Ensuring that the tailgate is unlocked before raising the tipping body.

Thomson Reuters

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