The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Skidsteer Crushing Accidents

Graham Marshall - Saturday, August 04, 2012

There have been two recent incidents in Western Australia involving pedal controlled skid steer equipment where the operator’s leg was crushed in a pinch point, resulting in serious fractures.

In both cases, the circumstances of the incidents were identical.

In both incidents, the operator had stretched his right leg over the entrance step in front to relieve cramping.

The resulting shift in weight had transferred pressure to the left foot, activating the boom control pedal and causing the boom to descend.

The operator’s right leg had been crushed between the entrance step and a cross member on the boom.

 

In both incidents, the operator was experienced in this style of equipment.

The operator was wearing a seat belt, the safety lock-out bar was lowered and the boom was partially raised.

The operator’s cabin had meshed sides but no door at the front.

Signage inside the skid steer unit indicated the pinch point.

The equipment was new and all safety devices were found to be functioning correctly when tested following the incident.

Principle Triggering Mechanisms

• The confined cabin space can restrict operator movement, leading to leg cramps.

• There is no physical barrier to prevent the extension of a limb into the area of the pinch point.

• Foot pedal controls can be inadvertently activated by a shift in the operator’s weight.

Recommendations

Under regulation 4.4(3) of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995, employers are required to “ensure that any moving machinery that creates a risk of injury to an employee through inadvertent contact is screened or guarded to prevent such contact.”

For skid steer equipment with confined cabin space and a pinch point hazard, this may be achieved by:

• Installing a cabin door (e.g. meshed or fully enclosed tempered glass with a stone guard) that is interlocked to the operation of the machine;

• Ensuring doors, if provided by the supplier, are not removed when the unit is placed into service; and

• Supervisors encouraging operators to take regular breaks and stretch.

 

 

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