Piling rig drill head falls, injures worker

Tuesday, 09 July, 2019

Piling rig drill head falls, injures worker

A worker has suffered serious head lacerations and crush injuries to his legs after part of a piling rig’s drill head fell on him in May 2019.

The drill casing fell on the worker without warning when he and another worker were preparing drilling components to fit to the piling rig while it was turned off, according to Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Queensland.

WHS Queensland has not yet established why this happened.

In a separate incident, also in May, part of a piling rig fell around 35 m to the ground, narrowly missing a worker.

Early inquiries suggest that the piling rig’s operator was attempting to move the rig when the component fell. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries.

Investigations into both incidents are continuing.

In order to prevent similar incidents, persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) must ensure that rig set-up, operation and attachment installation — such as drill heads, augers and hammers — is carried out according to manufacturers’ instructions and that pre-operational checks are conducted before each work shift.

Additionally, PCBUs should carry out routine inspection and maintenance in line with manufacturers’ instructions, according to WHS Queensland.

A safe work method statement must also be prepared and implemented for any high-risk construction work associated with piling rigs before work commences.

Exclusion zones must be implemented to keep unauthorised people away from the plant and associated equipment. These should be equal to the maximum radius envelope of the plant where practicable, plus, an allowance for inadvertent movement of the plant and people.

PCBUs and workers should always ensure the plant’s travel path is solid, level and clear of any obstacles, debris and steps.

Finally, PCBUs must ensure plant operators’ competency. Workers can demonstrate this with a verification of competency for a piling rig.

More information can be found via the incident alert on WHS Queensland’s website.

Image credit: © stock.adobe.com/au/Enrique del Barrio

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