Safe loading of elevated work platforms on tilt tray trucks

This Alert highlights the risk of injury when carrying out this task. It provides advice on a safe system of work.
Safety alert published

Friday 01 Mar 2002

Industries and topics
  • Construction
  • Cranes and lifting equipment

Background

The Alert has been revised and reissued after recent incidents involving elevating work platforms (EWP) being loaded onto and off tilt tray trucks.

In Queensland, an EWP slipped down the tray of a tilt tray truck in 2009. The operator was in the basket and drove the EWP up the tilted tray to load it onto the truck for transportation.

The truck tray used for transporting the EWP was too short to enable the EWP to be placed in the transport (stowed) position without the basket overhanging the tray (see Picture 1).

Picture 1: EWP in travel position as specified by manufacturer on a tilt tray that is too short, allowing basket to overhang the truck

Picture 1: EWP in travel position as specified by manufacturer on a tilt tray that is too short, allowing basket to overhang the truck.

To prevent overhang, the basket was rotated under the boom ('crowded' position) as shown in Picture 2. When the basket was placed in the crowded position and lowered onto the tilted tray, the braked wheels nearer to the basket lifted off the tray. The remaining wheels in contact with the tray were not fitted with brakes. The winch cable was not attached to the EWP, therefore allowing it to roll down the slope of the tray. This movement caused the basket of the EWP to strike the ground. The operator was crushed between the basket’s handrail and the ground, causing serious bodily injuries.

Picture 2: EWP in crowded position on a level tilt tray truck.

Picture 2: EWP in crowded position on a level tilt tray truck.

Control measures

For the safe loading of EWPs, ensure:

  • EWP is loaded and unloaded according to the EWP manufacturer’s instructions
  • the tilt tray truck is suitable to transport the EWP in the stowed position as determined by the EWP manufacturer.
    • The tray or trailer should be long enough for the boom and basket in the travel position.
    • The mass of the EWP is within the capacity of the winch, truck and/or trailer
  • operators of EWPs are provided with operating instructions and must be adequately trained for its operation. This is especially critical in relation to loading and unloading EWPs onto and off tilt trays

In addition, the following should be considered:

  • transport EWPs on a drop deck trailer (low loader) rather than a tilt tray truck
  • never drive an EWP onto a truck. It may be driven up to the truck to align the wheels for loading. The EWP should be shutdown and the winch cable attached before the brakes are released. To prevent damage to the EWP brakes and tyres, don’t winch it onto the truck with brakes applied (see Picture 3).
  • if stowing the basket onto the tray, lower the basket in a level position, using the ground controls.
Picture 3: EWP being winched up a tilt tray.

Picture 3: EWP being winched up a tilt tray.

Unloading

When unloading an EWP the above loading procedures should be reversed. Always ensure the EWP brakes are applied before the winch cable is removed.

Routine maintenance

A competent person should carry out inspections of all critical components on EWPs and tilt trays at least annually or as prescribed by the manufacturer. This includes but is not limited to the inspection of the winch, winch cable, chains, tie down points and EWP brakes. A record of the above activities should be maintained to provide a history of the plant.