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Powered Mobile Plant On Construction Sites

Alert
Document Type: Alert
Keycode: web only
Industry: Construction, 
Division Author: Construction & Utilities
Publication Date: 18 January 2007
Date First Published: 18 January 2007
Summary: This Alert is based on a Safety Alert published by WorkCover NSW on 29 December 2006 titled Moving plant on construction sites. It follows a number of recent incidents where workers have suffered serious injuries from being hit by powered mobile plant on construction sites.

Background

This Alert is based on a Safety Alert published by WorkCover NSW on 29 December 2006 titled Moving plant on construction sites.
It follows a number of recent incidents where workers have suffered serious injuries from being hit by powered mobile plant on construction sites. Some of these incidents have been fatal.

Occupational Health And Safety Requirements

Occupational health and safety legislation requires employers to ensure that controls are implemented to eliminate or minimise the risk of powered mobile plant colliding with pedestrians or other moving plant.

Employers must also ensure that powered mobile plant is fitted with appropriate safety features and warning devices that are maintained and tested, to alert people who are at risk from the movement of the plant.

Working near powered mobile plant is a high risk activity. Particular care should be taken to ensure the safety of workers and members of the public where powered mobile plant is in operation.

Controls For The Safe Operation Of Plant

The use of specific measures to eliminate or minimise identified risks should involve the selection of the most effective control measures based on a risk assessment.

The controls identified in this Alert are not exhaustive and it is expected that a number of measures would need to be selected and integrated into the system of work to ensure the highest possible level of safety.

The following are some of the control measures that should be considered:

  • isolating vehicles and plant from persons on the site
  • using fencing, barriers, barricades, temporary warning or control signs
  • planning the direction that plant moves, so visibility is not restricted
  • implementing safe working distances
  • using clear communication systems
  • minimising amount of plant working at one time
  • using demarcation lines or zones
  • using audible reversing alarms
  • using reversing/rear-view cameras (see right)
  • using reversing sensors
  • using flashing lights
  • using high visibility garments
  • using spotters or observers

alert powered mobile plant on construction sites

The use of technology such as sensors or reversing cameras is a useful aid to the plant operator but has limitations (eg blind spots) and must always be used with an effective warning system for persons at risk from the movement of the plant.

The development of traffic control plans, safe work method statements (SWMS) and job safety analyses, (JSA's) will assist in ensuring the safety of workers and the public around moving plant.

Workers must be consulted during the development of these, and receive appropriate training and instruction on the procedures.

These should be updated each time the conditions on the site change in a way that may affect the health and safety of persons at the workplace, or if they are found to be insufficient to effectively control the subject risks.

Traffic control plans and JSA's for vehicle movement are particularly important where work is being undertaken on or near public roads.

A JSA for vehicle movement should consider:

  • positioning and repositioning of plant
  • isolating workers/pedestrians from powered mobile plant
  • plant being operated near underground or aboveground services
  • plant operating in noisy environments
  • moving plant onto a public road from site
  • maintenance and servicing of plant
  • planning the work so that plant moves in a forward direction as often as practicable
  • the reversing movements of plant

The plant operator should observe the following procedures:

  • follow all the directions in the SWMS/JSA
  • where practicable, plant should always move in a forward direction
  • ensure no persons are at risk before reversing
  • avoid hazards by facing and maintaining attention in the direction of travel.

Acts and Regulations

Acts and regulations are available from Information Victoria on 1300 366 356 or order online at www.bookshop.vic.gov.au.

View the legislation at Victorian Law Today: www.legislation.vic.gov.au

Further information