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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

Vehicle collision on site

Vehicle collision on site
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Publication Date:
New Zealand

The driver of a front-end loader lost his leg when his vehicle was struck by a much larger log loader operating on the same site. The two drivers were aware of each other but there was no effective means to keep the vehicles separated, and there was no radio communication between them.

Carter Holt Harvey Ltd was fined $44,000 for breaching s6 of the HSE Act and ordered to pay reparation of $50,000 to its injured employee, whose right leg had to be amputated above the knee and who subsequently suffered post-traumatic stress and depression (Whangarei DC, 9 October 2012).

The November 2011 incident occurred on the company's site at Marsden Point where it had contracted two 20-tonne log loaders and their drivers to transport logs from the yard to the conditioning chambers. At the same time the CHH employee was operating a small pivot-steer front-end loader to scoop up waste and deposit it in the plant's boiler.

The yard was on two levels connected by a ramp. The front-end loader had been operating on the upper level. The driver decided to descend to the lower level and paused at the top of the ramp to ensure he could see both the log loaders. He drove down the ramp and rounded the corner, colliding with one of the log loaders whose driver did not have time to see him. The lower right fork of the log loader entered his cab and severely injured his leg.

Investigating, the Department of Labour found the yard had limited visibility, as did the drivers of the log loaders when they were carrying logs. While the two log loaders had radio communications between themselves, this was relied upon from two fixed points, neither of which enjoyed full visibility of the ramp. The employee's front-end loader was not equipped with radio communications.

The DoL found CHH should have ensured traffic separation for vehicles travelling up and down the ramp, and should have provided RT contact for the front-end loader driver.

Sentencing, Judge S J Maude noted that CHH's own independently prepared enquiry and report found that its employee thought the driver of the log loader which collided with him had seen him, but in fact he hadn't. The CHH report put the incident down to the log loader driver's decision to advance without visual sighting of the smaller vehicle, and failing to keep left when approaching the ramp.


Organisations Mentioned:
Carter Holt Harvey
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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