Do you currently hold a high risk work licence for a vehicle loading crane (CV) or dogging work (DG)? If you do, chances are you are the owner or operator of a vehicle loading crane (VLC).

If you are, it’s best you get prepared for some significant forthcoming changes regarding the regulation and monitoring of this high-risk machinery.

Since 2012 there have been 17 incidents involving the mechanical failure of an outrigger/stabiliser arm, 5 incidents involving a truck mounted stabiliser arms or outrigger swinging loose during transit.

In February 2018, a truck fitted with a vehicle loading crane was driven along a road with its stabiliser extended. As a result, the stabiliser struck a parked vehicle and a worker standing behind this vehicle was crushed and killed.

In the quest to combat these untimely and preventable incidents and fatalities involving vehicle loading cranes occurring, from August 2018 regulations and restrictions associated with the management of high risk machinery and the licences required to operate these vehicles are due to get a whole lot tougher with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the Department of Transport and Main Roads cracking down on the enforcement of licencing requirements.


What will be monitored?

The planned compliance campaign roll-out will seek to ensure owners and operators of vehicle loading cranes are complying with relevant work health and safety and road safety requirements as well as ensuring adequate controls have been implemented to reduce the likelihood of unintentional extension of manually operated stabilisers and outriggers.


What are the potential consequences?

In 2016, a company was fined $200,000 after a cyclist was fatally injured after being struck by the stabiliser arm of a prime mover and trailer fitted with a vehicle loading crane.

In a separate incident, a driver was killed when the stabiliser arm of a prime mover and trailer carrying a large amusement ride came loose and struck a car traveling in the opposite direction. Due to failure to comply with set safety regulations, the driver of the vehicle was later charged with Manslaughter after an investigation conducted by Queensland Police Service.

As a result, Workplace Health and Safety have strict rules and regulations surrounding the precautionary actions required before operating your vehicle loading crane.

If your vehicle loading crane is deemed improperly managed by inspectors throughout this campaign, you could be on the receiving end of some compliance notices and be prohibited from the use of your vehicle until any identified defects have been remedied and subsequently verified by a Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspector.


How should you prepare?

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland are urging a self-assessment be conducted by vehicle owners and operators to ensure the stabiliser and outrigger risks are effectively controlled. They have even devised a self-assessment tool for you to easily identify and control potential hazards and risks associated with the vehicle before ramifications occur through an inspection and before an accident or incident were to occur due to a fault in machinery.

Vehicle loading cranes that have been mishandled or improperly regulated have been responsible for an array of severe, and even fatal, injuries in the past.

Make yourself and your vehicle operators aware of the potential hazards and risks associated with these vehicles and get prepared ahead of these upcoming changes – it could mean the difference between life and death for many.