Mechanic dies while working underneath a car

WorkSafe is issuing a safety alert about the hazards associated with working underneath raised vehicles in the auto repair industry following the death of a mobile mechanic.
Safety alert published

Tuesday 04 May 2021

Industries and topics
  • Automotive

Background

A mobile mechanic has died while working underneath a raised vehicle.

Working alone at a private residence, the man was fatally injured when the vehicle he was working underneath rolled off a trolley jack and crushed him.  WorkSafe is investigating the incident.

Many workers in the auto repair industry are required to work on vehicles outside of a workshop, such as at another workplace or private residence.

Safety issues

Servicing and repairing vehicles frequently requires the vehicle to be raised on a hoist or trolley jacks to enable work to be undertaken on the underside of the vehicle. 

Serious crush injuries can occur when:

  • vehicles fall or roll off hoists, trolley jacks or axle stands.  When used on sloping or uneven ground, the risk of injury increases
  • lifting equipment used to raise a vehicle is used incorrectly, is not maintained or is overloaded
  • the park brake is not engaged and the wheels are not chocked
  • vehicles are left in gear causing them to lurch forward, possibly striking or running over persons nearby
  • heavily loaded vehicles (including attachments and modifications) are unstable and tip over when raised on hoists

Recommended ways to control risks

WorkSafe reminds duty holders of the risk control requirements that apply while working with vehicles in the workplace.  Duty holders include employers, contractors, self-employed persons and other persons who have management or control of a workplace.

To reduce the risks associated with working on vehicles, WorkSafe reminds everyone:

  • operators must be instructed, trained or supervised in the safe use of equipment
  • ensure machinery and equipment, such as hoists, trolley jacks and axle stands are well maintained, regularly serviced and only used for their intended purpose
  • when working with hoists or trolley jacks, ensure safe working loads are not exceeded - reduce load of vehicles prior to placing on a hoist or trolley jack by emptying the vehicle of heavy items especially tradie tool boxes etc
  • consider heavy vehicle accessories which may alter the vehicles centre of gravity
  • always apply the hand brake and place vehicle in Park or Neutral when a vehicle is on a hoist or jack
  • always ensure the ground is firm, flat and even
  • identify the lifting point to correctly position the jack under the vehicle
  • transfer the vehicle to axle stands when the vehicle is raised to the required height
  • when working alone – plan ahead, inform others of your whereabouts and check in regularly

Australian Standards

AS 1418.9-1996 Cranes (including hoists and winches) - Vehicle Hoists

More information