Excavator bucket detaches from semiautomatic quick hitch, crushes leg

Tuesday, 19 November, 2019

Excavator bucket detaches from semiautomatic quick hitch, crushes leg

A worker’s leg has been crushed after an excavator bucket unexpectedly disconnected from height during a house demolition. WorkSafe Victoria believes the bucket was attached to an excavator via a semiautomatic quick hitch when the incident occurred. To prevent similar incidents, workers and employers should ensure their quick hitch devices have safety systems — as required by standard AS 4772 – 2008 — and that those systems are always used, WorkSafe Victoria advised.

In the case of semiautomatic quick hitches, a safety pin and fastener, such as a lynch pin, must be manually inserted with each attachment change, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This must be reflected in site safety procedures and plant operator inductions, WorkSafe Victoria added. Before use, plant operators and employers should ensure the attachments and hitches are compatible with the intended machine, check the hydraulic system has the correct pressure to retain attachments and verify correct engagement of the primary retention system. They should also implement safety systems to prevent accidental activation of controls used to disengage the hitch and inspect the machine and attachments regularly.

Operators must be trained in and have the necessary information and instructions for machine and attachment use. They must also have access to attachments’ user manuals, WorkSafe Victoria said. Employers have a duty to provide and maintain a safe plant and working environment that is, so far as reasonably practicable, without risk to the employees’ health, under Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, the regulator said.

Self-employed persons must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that persons are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the conduct of their undertaking. Finally, under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017, employers must conduct risk assessments on machinery and eliminate or minimise identified risks so far as reasonably practicable.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Carmen Hauser

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