Preventing 'runaway' skip loader incidents

There have been a number of incidents where conventional skip loaders have 'runaway' when lifting skips on slopes.

Where lorries are fitted with stabiliser legs at the rear of the lifting frame, the rear wheels could potentially be raised off the ground during lifting – thereby negating the effect of rear wheel braking. If the brakes are not applied on the front wheels, the lorry can run away on the free-moving front wheels and the stabiliser legs (if fitted with roller wheels).

You can reduce the risk of runaways when buying new skip loaders by:

  • ensuring all wheel braking is fitted. Most lorry manufacturers offer all-wheel braking on the chassis of vehicles suitable for converting to skip loaders;
  • if it is not possible to purchase all-wheel braking on a new vehicle, flat plates should be fitted to stabiliser legs instead of rollers.

On older vehicles you should:

  • fit all-wheel braking retrospectively from specialist companies (NB the converted vehicle must conform with all the current construction and use regulations and it must be type approved by application to the DVSA or equivalent);
  • if this is not possible, flat plates should be fitted to the stabiliser legs.

Use of chocks should only be considered in exceptional circumstances and only if they can be used effectively. Their effectiveness depends upon factors such as ground conditions, slope, surface friction, vehicle surge, operator training/competence and supervision and monitoring.

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Updated 2021-07-01