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Falls from working platforms on vehicles

For planned or regular work at height, you should use a fully integrated and properly constructed working platform. This will have controls that are linked to and isolate the truck controls so that only a person on the platform can control the platform and truck movements. You should not normally use a non-integrated work platform.

Fall from fore-end loader bucket while replacing pipework

Problem

A farm worker suffered head injuries while replacing overhead pipework. He was standing in a bucket attached to the fore-end loader of a tractor. The pipe he was holding slipped and fell onto the mechanical trip lever of the loader. The bucket tipped and he fell over 2m to the ground, where he hit his head on a pallet.

Solutions

  • Use only properly constructed working platforms fitted with full edge protection.
  • Never work from ordinary pallets, potato boxes, buckets or forks.
  • Fit only working platforms to suitable machines – normally forklifts with vertical masts or telescopic booms.
  • Consult the manufacturer's/supplier's information to make sure truck and working platform are compatible.
  • Use only working platforms on machines which have a tilt/trip 'lock', to prevent accidental tilting of the platform.
  • Make sure any gates in the edge protection open inwards, upwards or sideways, and return automatically to the closed position.

Fall from unsecured potato box

Problem

A farm worker suffered head injuries when he, and the potato box from which he was working, fell 4m from the forks of a materials handler. He was working in a potato store removing temperature probes so they could be checked. As the vehicle was manoeuvred into position to remove the next probe, he leant out of one side of the box, causing it to fall from the forks to the concrete floor below.

Solutions

  • Use only properly constructed working platforms fitted with full edge protection.
  • Never work from ordinary pallets, potato boxes, buckets or forks.
  • Make sure the working platform is properly secured to the truck.
  • Fit suitable screens or guards to the platform to prevent access to any dangerous parts of the mast or boom.
  • The person in the platform must have control over its movement at all times and wear a suitable whole-body harness with a work-restraint lanyard.
  • Make sure the forklift and the platform have been examined by a competent person in the last six months.
  • Make sure the maximum number of people to be carried, and the safe working load, are displayed on the platform.

Worker accesses roof from pallets raised on a forklift truck (FLT)

Problem

An inspector witnessed a farm worker working on the gable end of a workshop. The worker had accessed the roof via a ladder that led up to a water tank, and then crossed planks spanning the gap between pallets on the tines of two forklift trucks (FLT). The planks were approximately 4m above ground. The inspector also observed the farm manager at the top of an unsecured ladder with a casual worker standing on an asbestos cement sheet roof with no protection of any kind to prevent a fall from or through the roof.

Solutions

  • Take suitable precautions for working on or near fragile roofs, such as edge protection.
  • Look at the access arrangements you provide, to avoid unsafe practices such as mounting pallets on the tines of FLTs and lifting workers in potato boxes on the forks of a lift truck.
  • Make sure arrangements to control exposure to asbestos fibres are adequate; eg employees using power tools to cut asbestos cement sheets should be provided with, and wear, suitable personal protective equipment.
  • Provide adequate supervision, particularly where work is carried out by workers whose English could be poor (in this case the majority of the work was carried out by Lithuanian workers).

Unsecured cage falls from forks of a telehandler

Problem

Two horticulture employees suffered major injuries when the steel mesh cage they were working in fell from the forks of a telescopic handler: the lifting cage was not secured to the forks of the vehicle. The two employees were cutting the top off a line of conifer trees using a bow saw. When finished, they shouted to the driver to lower them, but he selected forward gear instead of reverse, causing the vehicle to move forward suddenly and the cage to fall almost 3m to the floor with the men still inside.

Solutions

  • When using materials handlers with work platforms, make sure that both are suitable for the task: the materials handler must allow for any tilt/crowd action to be locked off and the work platform to be securely attached to the loader forks.
  • Provide suitable training in the use of materials handlers for operators. This is particularly important when lifting people.

Worker falls from unsecured working platform

Problem

An employee fractured his leg and pelvis after falling from an unsecured potato box being used as a work platform on the forks of a raised forklift truck (FLT). The box toppled from the forks and landed on the employee.

Solutions

  • When using FLTs or materials handlers with work platforms, you must make sure that both are suitable for the task. A fully integrated control is the standard to be achieved.
  • For work in exceptional circumstances, the lifting equipment must have an anti-tilt mechanism that is locked-off and you must securely attach the work platform to the loader forks.
  • Provide suitable training in the use of materials handlers for operators. This is particularly important when lifting people.
2016-01-05