SafeWork SA issued a safety alert after a young worker at a demolition site was seriously injured while greasing an excavator attachment, resulting in their left leg being amputated below the knee.
While working in proximity to potentially dangerous components of plant, workers should not rely on hydraulic systems to maintain those components in a safe position. There should be positive protection from gravitational hazards.
Serious crush injuries can result from normal movement of the hydraulic equipment, and when the hydraulic systems fail, falling loads or unexpected moving parts are extremely dangerous. Plant arms or equipment can cause injury through rapid or slow movement without the worker being aware of the danger.
Plant is a major cause of workplace death and injury in Australian workplaces. There are significant risks associated with using plant and severe injuries can result from the unsafe use of plant, including:
- limbs amputated by unguarded moving parts
- being crushed by mobile plant
- sustaining fractures from falls while accessing, operating or maintaining plant
- electric shock from plant that is not adequately protected or isolated
- burns or scalds due to contact with hot surfaces, or exposure to flames or hot fluids.
Other risks include hearing loss due to noisy plant and musculoskeletal disorders caused by manually handling or operating plant that is poorly designed.
Construction continues to be one of the most hazardous industries, exposing workers to a variety of hazards and risks, resulting in unacceptably high levels of injuries and fatalities.
In response to this, SafeWork SA’s inspectors are currently undertaking compliance audits on Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) for high risk construction work (HRCW).
The WHS Regulations prescribe 18 specific activities as HRCW, due to the significant potential for serious harm that is often associated with those activities.
One of these prescribed activities is work that is carried out in an area at a workplace in which there is any movement of powered mobile plant, for example, excavators.
SWMS are a key strategy relied upon to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities within the construction industry.
Click here to see the alert