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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters



Safeguard Magazine

Incident investigation—Hoist collapse

Summary

An employee of an agricultural contracting firm was seriously injured when he was crushed by a fully laden truck hoist which came down on him unexpectedly while he was working on repairing the hoist.

CONTEXT

  • • 
    The company had a fleet of 80 heavy vehicles including trucks, tractors, harvesters, trailers and support vehicles.
  • • 
    This fleet included seven trucks with hydraulic hoists for raising and lowering a tray.
  • • 
    The injured man, E, was a qualified diesel mechanic specialising in large agricultural machinery.
  • • 
    Most repairs were carried out in the workshop but he was also required to repair vehicles in the field.

DETAIL

  • • 
    E and a colleague were required to visit a farm to repair a broken cover on a truck.
  • • 
    While there they were asked to look at another of the company’s vehicles at the farm because its hydraulic hoist was giving trouble.
  • • 
    The truck’s tray was fully laden with maize.
  • • 
    They looked at the truck’s valves and believed they had fixed the problem.
  • • 
    The truck was reversed to a maize stack and the hoist raised, but it stopped halfway up and would not move.
  • • 
    The truck could not be driven to the workshop because the tray was half-up.
  • • 
    E phoned a truck servicing company for advice and was told to crawl underneath the truck and tap the valves with a rubber hammer.
  • • 
    They found they were unable to see or reach the valves from that position.
  • • 
    E decided to position himself under the tray to work on the hoist’s valves.
  • • 
    He chocked the hoist’s rear hinge with a hardwood railway sleeper.
  • • 
    While he was seated on the chassis one of the valves on the truck’s hydraulic hoses burst and the fully laden hoist came down, crushing the wooden chock.
  • • 
    E tried to jump clear but was caught through the hip and between ribcage and pelvis.
  • • 
    He was further crushed until the now splintered sleeper prevented the hoist from descending any further.
  • • 
    He received two severe breaks to his pelvis, deep bruising and nerve damage. He spent several months in hospital and is unlikely to regain full use of one leg. He has suffered post-traumatic stress.

BACKGROUND

  • • 
    In the company’s workshop the practice was to use large pine blocks to prop up truck hoists before working beneath them.
  • • 
    Employees would also use other pieces of wood or oil drums as props.
  • • 
    Work was normally undertaken when the truck’s tray was empty.
  • • 
    The pine blocks were not suitable to prop a fully laden hoist.
  • • 
    The employer had no written procedures for working under hoists.

BROADER LESSONS

  • • 
    Raised hydraulic hoists on trucks are a well known significant hazard.
  • • 
    Regulation 16 of the HSE Regulations 1995 covers work under raised objects.
  • • 
    Steel “truck bed brace bracket” systems are available to prevent the unexpected lowering of a raised hoist.
  • • 
    A safe standard operating procedure is required for working on hydraulic hoists.
  • • 
    The procedure must be communicated to anyone working around hoists.
  • • 
    Proper training is required for anyone repairing hydraulic systems on trucks.

Thanks to WorkSafe New Zealand for its assistance with this column.

Thomson Reuters

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