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Equipment falls and fatally pins worker

Hydraulic hose
Hydraulic hose

An employee died after earthmoving machinery crushed his body.

A maintenance worker recently passed away while replacing a worn-out main hydraulic pressure hose.

The individual began by releasing residual hydraulic pressure from the wheeled loader’s lifting system to access the main hose valve. He then used a second machine to raise the boom, move the grapple to a natural “flop” position and position it onto the loader’s grapple tine tips.

While the worker performed repairs under the equipment the boom suddenly fell and killed him.

“The mechanic was working under the boom when it slumped unexpectedly fatally pinning the mechanic,” MinEx said in a New Zealand safety alert.

The country’s national health and safety council made the following recommendations:

  • adequately stabilise and support plant and equipment items
  • release stored and residual energy from air and hydraulic lines
  • do not work under suspended loads or lifted equipment
  • identify all hazards and implement controls.

“Compressed air jets, diesel fuel injectors and paint sprayers, as well as high pressure hydraulic systems, are only a few examples of items commonly found on a minesite but all have the potential to inject fluid or gas under the skin and cause tissue damage,” the Queensland Mines Inspectorate said in a safety bulletin.

“A mine’s safety and health management system needs to identify all aspects of safely managing a high pressure fluid system as well as the treatment of any injuries that may result from a system malfunction.”

Click here to read the full safety alert.

Click here to read the full mine safety bulletin.

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AMSJ April 2022