WorkCover Queensland launched a campaign recently aimed at educating workers about the need for safety when working with mobile and operational plant and equipment, particularly when engaging in construction work.
The Office of Fair and Safe Work Queensland’s Acting Deputy Director-General Dr. Simon Blackwood indicated that work safety inspectors would be embarking on an Australia-wide campaign by conducting assessments involving mobile plant on construction sites.
According to a post on the Queensland’s Safety Authority website www.workcoverqld.com.au the campaign will run over the next 2 years and assesses the level of compliance in controlling risks from mobile plant and will target worker interaction with mobile plant, operator competence and maintenance. He went on to explain:
“It also seeks to measure the effectiveness of safe work method statements and other control documentation, in controlling high risk activities.
“The campaign includes four types of mobile plant including hoists, elevating work platforms and lifting equipment in addition to earthmoving equipment.
“Ten per cent (138) of the total number of deaths and permanent injuries that occurred in the Queensland construction industry between January 2010 and September 2012 resulted from incidents involving powered mobile plant —that is four people died and 134 were permanently injured as a result of powered mobile plant.
“Under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011, employers have a primary duty of care to ensure that operators of mobile plant have received sufficient training, information, instruction and supervision to operate mobile plant competently and safely.
“A previous WHSQ campaign found a quarter of activities involving worker interaction with mobile plant failed to implement controls that had been identified in safe work method statements or traffic management plans.”
When working with mobile plant some of the risks include:
- Possibility of the plant overturning
- Risk of things falling on the operator of the plant
- Risk of the operator being ejected from the plant
- The plant colliding or coming into contact with any person or thing (e.g. workers, other vehicles or plant, energised power lines)
- Risk of mechanical or other failures occurring (e.g. hydraulic failures, release of hazardous substances).
According to safety authorities workers and employers need to actively manage these risks in order to avoid incidents which may result in injury or death. Dr Blackwell went on to explain that the results of the campaign would determine the nature of any further campaigns undertaken by the safety authority.
At the industry announcement, hosted by Master Builders Queensland, WHSQ provided owners and operators of mobile plant with assessment tools and the guidance notes that inspectors will be using throughout this campaign.
Master Builders Queensland Director of Construction John Crittall said the industry welcomed the release of information and resources that helped companies manage the risks associated with mobile plant.
“Principal contractors need to know their own obligations and ensure suppliers and operators involved with mobile plant comply with their respective obligations,” Mr Crittall said.