WorkCover Queensland has issued a safety alert highlighting the risks associated with inadequate support under outrigger feet - particularly on poor ground.
The bulletin follows the fatal overturn of a 70 metre truck mounted lift in Brisbane last week, that killed photographer Chris Powell, 41,and seriously injured his son Brendan, 17. See Fatal overturn in Brisbane
The bulletin highlights a number of actions that are required which are repeated in full below:
"The operating instructions from the mobile plant manufacturer should always be followed. Manufacturers and/or their agents in Queensland have a duty to supply information on any conditions necessary to ensure the plant is safe, this includes information on the loads imposed on the ground by outriggers and wheels. Where the information is no longer readily available, a competent person such as a geotechnical engineer should be engaged to assist in developing appropriate information on ground support for the unit".
"It is often left to the operator of the mobile plant to decide on the type and size of timbers or pads provided under outrigger feet. Employers should provide operators with sufficient training instruction and supervision for them to make an informed decision as to what ground support is required".
"Where there are any doubts or obvious signs that the ground may be suspect (i.e. soft ground, fill, underground services, etc), the operator should seek direction from their employer. There may be a need to engage the services of a competent person, such as a geotechnical engineer, to make an assessment of the ground and then to specify suitable control measures (i.e. ground preparation with crushed rock or the use of steel bog mats under the outrigger feet)".
"There is a particular need for caution where the ground is made up of fill. Indicators that the ground is fill include the presence of rubble (i.e. broken concrete, bricks, metal, timber) and that the ground doesn’t appear to be natural. Where the ground is fill, the operator should not assume that just because there are no obvious signs that the ground is soft that it is able to safely support the plant".
"Continual monitoring of outriggers during operation is needed so that the unit can be stopped if the outrigger or pads show any signs of sinking”.