Working with heavy machinery and equipment always brings with it a variety of risks and dangers, but a recent example from Brisbane, Australia, highlights precisely why secure ground and solid outrigger pads are so crucial. According to the crane and lift industry news site Vertikal.net, WorkCover Queensland’s safety and workers’ compensation services issued a formal warning memo at the end of December after a recent tragedy involving an overturned truck-mounted lift.
The new safety statement reinforces the risks associated with improper outrigger feet support, especially when it comes to unstable ground. The warning comes after an incident that occurred earlier in December in which a photographer was killed while taking pictures of the site being worked on for a property developer.
The photographer, Chris Powell, and his son, Brendan, were taking pictures from the platform of the fully extended boom of the four axle lift owned by rental company LinCon when the lift suddenly came crashing down and tossed them from it. Many have speculated that the cause was unstable ground or fill that the lift was setup on.
“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,” part of the Queensland statement reads. “Employers should provide operators with sufficient training instruction and supervision for them to make an informed decision as to what ground support is required.”
While Chris Powell was tragically killed as a result of the incident, his 17-year-old son Brendan survived and reports indicate he will make a full, albeit miraculous, recovery.
The Australian government’s address also goes on to talk about the importance of knowing the exact condition of the ground before any work or setup is done, even if it requires the approval of a geotechnical engineer.