Background

Kooi-Aap-manufactured truck-mounted/piggyback forklift trucks (TMFs) are commonly used for unloading turf, bricks or tiles from the back of transport trucks.

TMFs are usually attached to the back of a truck or trailer to facilitate transportation. Some forklift protective frames are fixed (preferred) while others are designed to collapse inwards to meet VicRoads and other states’ load dimension requirements.

A fatality in Victoria occurred when a Kooi-Aap TMF was being used to offload rolls of turf from a truck. The operator was reversing when the TMF tipped over backwards. The TMF’s protective frame collapsed forward on itself, trapping and fatally injuring the operator.

The TMF involved in the fatality was a 1997 model Kooi-Aap three-wheeled piggyback forklift truck, manufactured in the Netherlands.

The TMF’s protective structure consisted of a hinged forward folding frame that locked in place with a locking mechanism under the seat. This locking mechanism was not able to withstand the forces exerted on it when the forklift tipped over backwards.

There was no safety mechanism on the hinge of the protective frame to prevent inadvertent folding.

Note: Protective frames on recent model (2000 and later) Kooi-Aap TMFs have a spring applied latching device over the hinge that prevents inadvertent folding.

Control measures

Employers who use powered mobile plant such as TMFs must ensure that the risk of the plant overturning is eliminated so far as is reasonably practicable.

If it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate this risk, the employer must ensure that any risks to the operator as a result of the TMF overturning are reduced so far as is reasonably practicable.

The reduction of risk may be achieved by an appropriate combination of control measures such as roll-over protective structure, falling object protective structure, and/or an operator restraining device such as a seat belt.

If you operate a Kooi-Aap TMF with a collapsible frame employers should fit an appropriate automatic positive locking mechanism to the protective frame that will ensure the frame does not inadvertently fold forward should the forklift truck tip over backwards.

If you operate a Kooi-Aap TMF without a protective frame surrounding you should fit an appropriate protective frame that will remain secure and protect the operator during a tip over or roll over in any direction.

If purchasing a TMF, look for a model that does not require a collapsible operator protective structure, ie one with a fixed frame that will comply with VicRoads and other states’ load dimension requirements.

Further information

  • Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 – Part 3.5, Division 5 – Duties of employers and self-employed persons who use plant.
  • Australian Standard AS2359.1-1995 Powered industrial trucks – Part 1: General requirements. See ‘Section 7-Operator protection’.