A worker in British Columbia troubleshooting a mechanical problem on part of a lowbed trailer — known as a "gooseneck" — that connects the trailer's deck to the tractor was crushed while looking under the raised gooseneck, according to a Hazard Alert from WorkSafeBC released by Enform. The fatally injured worker was kneeling behind the jeep's rear wheels. A second worker on the opposite side of the gooseneck was also troubleshooting.
Unaware that the first worker was in the hazardous area between the gooseneck and the jeep's frame, he walked over to the hydraulic controls, intending to raise the gooseneck so that he could get a better look at a malfunctioning part. When he activated the controls, however, the gooseneck dropped down instead.
The worker who was under the gooseneck suffered fatal injuries when the gooseneck dropped onto him.
Recommended safe work practices included that employers provide workers with the information, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their safety when working around hazardous areas of equipment, including pinch points. They should inform workers of the hazards — including pinch points that present a risk of crush injuries — to which they are exposed when operating equipment or performing maintenance or repairs.
Additionally, companies should provide safe work procedures for working on or under parts held up by hydraulic or pneumatic pressure. Include the following:
* Do not work under any elevated equipment part unless it has been physically secured against inadvertent movement.
* Do not leave any elevated equipment or equipment part unattended.
* Warn all workers nearby before activating any hydraulic controls to lift or lower equipment or equipment parts.
* Perform a walk-around inspection around equipment before activating controls to ensure no one is exposed to hazards.
* Identify controls with clear labels to remind operators of their functions and to help prevent the wrong control from being activated or to prevent a control from being activated in the wrong direction.
* Ensure that warning labels on equipment clearly identify all hazardous areas, including pinch points.
* Install or design safeguards to prevent inadvertent or unintended movement of equipment parts.
WorkSafeBC has a wide range of health and safety information. For assistance and information on workplace health and safety, visit WorkSafeBC.com.