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Date PostedMay 2, 2012

White Card Update: Lack of training may have caused Fatality

Hearing to determine Cause of Death After Crane Crushes Worker

The hearing to uncover what may have led to the death of a truck driver three years ago is currently underway. The truck driver suffered fatal injuries after being crushed by a crane while on duty.  The incident was particularly gruesome as the truck driver was pinned to his vehicle by the crane.

SafetyCulture.com.au reported on the incident:

A hearing is underway in the ACT Coroner’s Court to determine how a Canberra truck driver died when he was crushed by a crane.

The 57-year-old was killed three years ago during an early morning job picking up large waste bins at the Evatt shops.

He suffered severe neck and chest injuries when the arm of the crane pinned him to the truck with his feet lifted off the ground.

Source: http://www.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/04/act-inquest-into-death-of-truck-driver/

While poor lighting was thought to be a factor in the incident, a lack of training has also been blamed. According to reports the truck driver was allowed to operate the crane without sufficient training. In this incident the worker should not have been sent to do the job without the proper training, this endangered not only his life by those of the people around him as well.

SafetyCulture.com.au goes on to report:

The court heard that Mr Gowan’s inexperience and lack of training with the equipment could have been contributing factors to the incident.

The court was told Mr Gowan had limited experience with the crane before being sent on the job, and there were concerns among his work colleagues about his level of training and competence with the equipment.

The hearing continues.


A lack of training was the main issue highlighted by the court as the truck driver was allowed to operate the crane without the proper training while doing his duty of collecting rubbish bins.

Truck drivers whose vehicles are fitted with cranes and heavy lifting equipment need to be trained on working the cranes. Being a trained truck driver is not sufficient, training on crane equipment will aid in the safety of the truck driver and other bystanders including ordinary members of the public, who could also be hurt in incidents such as this one.

Supervisors and employers need to ensure their workers are properly trained on the equipment they operate. Training as well as proper supervision is necessary at all times, workers should not be allowed to operate potentially dangerous heavy equipment without the consent of supervisors or employers.

According to the testimony of a co-worker who was a witness of the incident, the truck driver did not have the experience or the training to operate the crane. The co-worker denied being the truck drivers supervisor, but says he was there to ensure the operation ran smoothly, which the company disputed.

A report by Abc.net.au had this to say:

The ACT Coroner’s Court has been shown a video recreating the circumstances in which a Canberra truck driver was killed while using a crane three years ago.

Geoffrey William Blackfella Gowan, 57, was killed on his birthday in 2009 during an early morning job picking up large waste bins at the Evatt shops.

On Monday the court was shown graphic footage of how Mr Gowan was pinned to the truck by the boom of the crane.

He suffered severe neck and chest injuries as his feet were lifted off the ground.

Today the court watched another video focused on the crane involved in the accident.

In the video, the crane was positioned as it was at the time of the accident and the boom was dropped onto the position where Mr Gowan would have been standing.

The court also heard Mr Gowan had limited experience operating the crane when the fatal accident happened.

A worker who was with Mr Gowan at the time of the accident, David Milla, gave evidence.

In cross examination, Mr Milla was asked about his role on the day in January 2009.

He replied he was there to ensure the efficiency of the bin run and was not responsible for supervising Mr Gowan.

But lawyers for the employer disputed this pointing to a transcript of an interview with police taken shortly after the accident.

The hearing continues.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-04-24/inquest-into-truck-driver-death/3969850?section=act

Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning and web strategy firm based in George St Brisbane. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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