Background

A number of people have been killed or seriously injured in Australia while inspecting components or undertaking maintenance work underneath raised tipping and tilting trays on trucks and trailers.

Investigations of these types of incidents have revealed a number of causes and an effective preventative measure to reduce the risk of fatalities and injuries from raised trays.

Catastrophic failures, slow leaks of the tray lifting mechanism or its inadvertent activation can all cause the tray to fall, therefore additional mechanical support for the tray must be provided.

Control measures

  1. Never attempt to work or carry out inspections between a raised tray and the truck’s chassis rails without the tray being mechanically supported in addition to the trays normal lifting mechanism.
    Use:
    • vehicle-mounted props or purpose-designed temporary propping stands that are secured to prevent movement or dislodgement (see picture)
    • props that are able to support the weight of the tray and any attached loads.

    Never:

    • use soft wood timber for propping
    • rely on the vehicle’s lifting mechanism to support the tray in the raised position if the vehicle is unattended. Always prop the tray to give additional mechanical support.
       
  2. system of work must be in place that ensures a person cannot be trapped under a descending tray if, for example, a lapse of concentration occurs.
    Ensure:
    • props are able to be engaged/fitted without having to get between the tray and chassis
    • tip-limiter cables are shrouded to protect against accidental activation.
       
  3. When ordering new vehicles ensure:
    • safeguards are fitted to the tray-raising system
    • the tray includes built-in props to secure the tray
    • controls for the tray-raising mechanism are clearly marked and shrouded or protected from accidental operation
    • controls are located in a position that protects the operator from entrapment during use
    • hydraulic cylinders are fitted with restrictors to slow the rate of descent and to provide audible warning in the event of unintentional pressure release.
portable braces holding up a load

Purpose-designed stands (photo courtesy of Occupational Safety and Health Administration, US)

Further Information

  • Australian Standard AS 1418.8 – Cranes, hoists and winches
  • Transport and storage industry – Who is the weakest link in the health and safety chain of responsibility?