Serious injury sustained by worker as concrete floor gives way

Monday, 03 August, 2009

An employee at a Western Australian company was severely injured while attempting to raise a newly manufactured 80-tonne mining low loader trailer, to enable a transport trailer to be driven underneath so the new trailer could be removed from the workshop.

The employee used a heavy-duty jacking system, various support stands and packing. During the lifting, the jacking system’s base broke through the reinforced concrete floor of the workshop under the weight of the load, resulting in the trailer falling back a distance of approximately 100 mm onto the support stands, catching and crushing the right hand of the employee between the trailer and one of the support stands. The employee suffered the loss of three fingers and the palm of his right hand.

Following the incident, WorkSafe WA issued a Safety and Health Alert, cautioning companies about these types of dangers. Companies were encouraged to consider a number of factors in their facilities, in particular the weight of the plant being manufactured and the integrity of the concrete and floor system in the workplace.

WorkSafe also issued a number of recommendations for employers to ensure that:

  1. floors of workshops, where heavy equipment is manufactured or manoeuvred, are designed, inspected and maintained as required;
  2. the manufacturer’s operating instructions, safe systems of work and appropriate procedures are available for, and in use by, employees when lifting or moving heavy plant; and
  3. employees are provided with adequate training, instruction and supervision in the procedures, systems of work and safe operating instructions of all plant in their workplaces.
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