The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Working Under Suspended Loads

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When it comes to working around cranes and hoists, there is one golden safety rule that stands high above all other safety considerations.

That rule is - never to work directly under, or within the potential fall radius of a suspended load.

As the picture below shows - taken on a recent field trip by one of our employees - the golden rule to avoid working under suspended loads is being broken in a most dangerous manner by these two workmen.

The header motor being lifted here weighs in excess of five tons and would have killed both men instantly had it fallen on them.

To purchase a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) for helping to manage the hazards associated with suspended loads, simply click here.


Dangers of dropped objects

Graham Marshall - Monday, November 21, 2011

Enclosed today is an interesting presentation prepared by the folks at the Marine Safety Forum.

The presentation looks at a number of dropped objects incidents recorded by the MSF in 2011.  To view the presentation, simply click here.



Blue Sky - Safety Under Power Lines

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Operators who work with mobile plant and equipment and their supervisors and managers need to make special efforts in using the Think 6, Look 6 hazard management process when working in close proximity to overhead "live" power lines.

Look up and live is the key message of any "blue-sky" work procedure.


"Home-made" signage like this example is next to useless in controlling the risk of line strike.

If you're working with mobile plant or equipment with a risk of line-strike, always consider the following control mechanisms as part of your site risk management plan:

1.  Eliminate the hazard - try to get the utility company to de-energize the power lines;

2.  Avoid locating required materials stockpiles in close proximity to power lines;

3.  Ask the utility company to fit visual markers to power lines in areas where work is being undertaken;

4.  Use an ultrasonic measuring device to record the height of power lines.  Ensure to repeat the measurement several times throughout the day to account for line sag due to temperature changes.  Ensure all operators know the measurement results;

5.  Install visual warning signs in close proximity to power lines.  Ensure warnings and appropriate control mechanisms are written into JSAs for day-to-day activities;

6.  Use a spotter when operating "at-risk" mobile plant near to power lines; and

7.  Identify the location of the work and and reinforce utility emergency contact numbers with "at-risk" operators and their supervisors.

Some further useful information is available by reading the attached safety alert from the NSW RTA.


Safety Alert on Telehandlers

Jay Stansell - Sunday, August 28, 2011
Variable reach trucks, commonly known as Telehandlers are versatile and useful tools for completing a variety of jobs in a cross-section of industries.

At the Risk Tool Box, however, we are aware of at least three fatal accidents involving operators of Telehandlers who have been killed when they have leant through damaged or missing side windows and then been struck and pinned by the boom.

Today's post is a warning to all operators and owners of Telehandlers to ensure that the safety critical side-window on the boom-side of the Telehandler is securely in place prior to any Telehandler activity.



The incident happened in the highlands area of Scotland when the operator of the variable reach truck was leaning through a missing side window on the boom-side of telehandler.

As he adjusted the mirror through the open window, his knee accidently touched the lever that operated the boom, which lowered causing fatal crush injuries.  The operator had made a request to the employer to fix the window but it had not been done.

The operator was just 36 years old when he was killed on the job.

The company involved in the accident pleaded guilty to a prosecution brought by the UK HSE and was fined 266,000 GB Pounds (roughly $500,000).


The window on the boom-side of variable reach trucks is designated as safety-critical equipment as it is designed as a guard to prevent operator access to the boom.
If the glass screen is broken or missing, operators are at grave and elevated risk of being involved in a fatal incidents.

In order to control the risk, it is imperative that owners, supplier and operators of Telehandlers implement the following controls:

  • Remove from use any Telehandler with damaged side windows and ensure the glass is replaced.
  • Warn operators of Telehandlers of the dangers of operating their machines with the side screen broken or missing;
  • Operators should immediately report damage to side windows as soon as it occurs, and stop the job until the window is replaced.
  • Operators should also carry out daily checks of the condition of the cab windows prior to starting work each day.




Shipyard Safety

Graham Marshall - Monday, August 01, 2011

The first significant update to the United States shipyard standards (Subpart F of 29 CFR 1915) since they were introduced in 1972 occurs today.

The new rules revise requirements for housekeeping, illumination, confined space entry, health and sanitation, lockout-tagout and create a new provision for motor vehicle safety.

According to OSHA statistics, almost 20 per cent of shipyard deaths are due to transportation incidents.

In addition, OSHA has also released a new guidance document which outlines injury prevention measures for rigging operations within the shipyard sector. 

The new guidance document can be found here.

Forklift Disaster For McLaren Vale Winemaker

Graham Marshall - Sunday, July 24, 2011
Moollydooker wine maker Sparky Marquis reports he has lost over $1 Million worth of his flagship Velvet Glove Shiraz following the loss of a container which fell off a forklift.

Selling for $185 a bottle and heading for export to the USA, Moollydooker has lost over a third of its 2010 Velvet Glove release.  Thankfully no one was injured during the forklift incident.

The loss demonstrates once again, however, the importance of assessing the risks and developing appropriate lift plans when using mobile lifting equipment such as forklifts and mobile cranes.

To access a Procedure for Risk Assessment simply click here.

It's a shame that Sparky hadn't read a copy 'cause the Velvet Glove is a pretty good drop of red!

Safe Use of Synthetic Slings

Graham Marshall - Saturday, July 09, 2011

In Australia, synthetic round slings should be manufactured to meet AS.4497-1 and flat webbing slings (double ply type) should be  manufactured to meet AS.1353.1-1997.

Once in use, synthetic slings of all types should be stored correctly, inspected before each use and discarded if damaged. 

It is good practice to destroy damaged slings in order to remove any possibility of "second-hand" use by people finding and removing them from the trash.

Before each use, look for the following types of damage or wear:

• Any external wear such as abrasion or cuts and contusions;

• Internal wear which is often indicated by a thickening of the sling or the presence of grit and dirt;

• Damage to any protective coating of the sling;

• Damage caused by high temperatures, sunlight or chemicals (indicated by discolouration);

• Damage to the label or stitching;

• Damage to the eyes or any terminal attachments or end fittings;

• Where the sling is covered by a sleeve, the sleeve must cover the sling for the full length from eye to eye.

Discard a synthetic sling if:

• The label has been removed or destroyed;

• There is any damage to the sleeve or protective coating;

• A nylon sling comes into contact with acid;

• A polyester sling comes into contact with alkaline substances;

• A polypropylene sling comes into contact with an organic solvent such as paint, coal tar or paint stripper;

• There are any visible cuts on the sling;

Once the job for which slings were used is complete, synthetic slings should be stored taking account of the following precautions:

• In a clean, dry, well ventilated place;

• Away from the ground or floor;

• Away from direct sunlight ultra-violet light and fluorescent lights;

• Away from extremes of temperature

• Away from sources of ignition;

• Away from atmospheric or liquid chemicals;

• Away from the possibility of mechanical damage.

The working life of synthetic slings will be shortened if exposed to any of the above.

Using Cranes on Unstable Ground

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A significant triggering factor that needs to be considered when using the Think 6, Look 6 hazard management process for crane lifts relates to ground conditions. 

The following pictures illustrate why careful consideration needs to be paid to ground conditions if crane operators are to avoid  the potential for disaster.

Here's what a nice new shiny crane should look like.

Here's what it will look like if you don't consider the ground conditions in your lift plan.

If the flooring under the crane is not sufficiently strong, it will always end badly...

This is a very bad day at the office.

Try explaining this to the boss who's only just bought the new multi-million dollar crane...

I think you might be looking for a new job...

JSA for Cranes and Lifting

Graham Marshall - Saturday, June 04, 2011
We all know that working with cranes and hoists is one of the most dangerous jobs and a common cause of fatalities across a number of industrial sectors.

In our shop you'll find an excellent Job Safety Analysis applicable to a variety of lifting operations.

Check it out by clicking here.

Safety Around Cranes

Graham Marshall - Friday, May 20, 2011
Enclosed with the blog today are a few photographs to be used in a tool-box talk of an interesting crane incident.

To open the tool-box presentation, simply click here.

Have a safe day.


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