WorkCover NSW has issued a safety alert to prevent any further injuries and deaths in relation to towing trailers.
The alert covers the potential risk to workers when they release the brakes of a trailer when it’s not connected to a prime mover. The alert also highlights the risk of towing a trailer with plant that it isn’t supposed to tow and designing and using landing legs.
This was sparked by the death of a man in 2012, who was crushed by a trailer while he was working under it. He was planning to tow the trailer with a crane, however, when he was under it, the brakes released and the landing leg folded back into its travelling position unexpectedly. The trailer crashed onto him and fractured his leg, spine and chest.
Reasons for the accident
Investigations concluded that there were a number of contributing factors to the man’s death. WorkCover NSW stated the brakes were released before the trailer was secure. It was also revealed that the landing gear was not put into the correct position and this allowed it to move under the extreme pressure of the situation.
This accident could have been avoided if both the employee and other workers had identified the hazards properly and had taken measures to prevent potential problems.
What can employers do?
Accidents such as this are extremely rare, but everyday employees are potentially in dangerous situations that could end in this result. As such, WorkCover NSW issued some points for employers to take into account to avoid these circumstances in the future.
This included full identification and elimination of hazards before employees begin dangerous work, as well as consulting with relevant parties on what hazards are present and how to deal with them.
“A person with management or control must take all reasonable steps to ensure that plant is used only for the purpose for which it was designed, unless the person has determined the proposed use does not increase the risk to health or safety,” the safety alert stated.
Workplace compensation in NSW
Employees injured at work are also entitled to compensation. It is recommended that you contact a compensation lawyer who can advise you on how to make your claim and assist you through the process.
These lawyers operate on a no win no fee basis, so they can advise you on your chances for success free of charge – if they think you have a case, it’s completely up to you whether you engage their services.