How Plant Assessor could have prevented the need to amputate

How Plant Assessor could have
prevented the need to amputate

Paul Dean | Founder, Technical Director

The following incident alert was published by Workplace Health & Safety Queensland in May 2019.

In May 2019, a worker’s foot needed to be surgically amputated on site after coming into contact with three operating exposed augers at the bottom of a feeder bin trailer.

Early investigations indicate the worker was sitting on the edge of the feeder bin with both legs on the inside of the bin, using a shovel to remove excess feed stuck on the sides. For reasons yet to be established, he fell feet first into the feeder bin, trapping his legs within the three operating augers. To release him, his left foot had to be amputated and he sustained significant injuries to his right foot. Investigations are continuing.

A tragic incident I am sure you all will agree, as all serious injuries are. When I read incident alerts such as this, I always ask myself, would using Plant Assessor have prevented this incident?  After all, that’s what we’re here to do.

Plant Assessor was designed to help people using and supplying machinery ensure that the machines that they supply and use are safe & compliant, and that people using the machines have the appropriate information to help ensure safe operation.

It is fair to say that if Plant Assessor was used to inspect the machine in question in all likelihood this incident would have been avoided. Plant Assessor would have identified:

  • The need for the augers to have a fixed sturdy permanent guard to AS4024: Part 1601: Design of controls,  interlocks and guarding—Guards— General requirements for the design and construction of fixed and movable guards
  • The need for appropriate labelling advising of the entanglement hazard created by the presence of the augers in the hopper
  • The need for Safe Operating Procedures to be developed and available
  • The requirement for the Safe Operating Procedure  to contain instruction along the lines of “Always switch off engine and remove key prior to performing any inspection, cleaning or maintenance”

There are many additional risk controls in Plant Assessor to help prevent such an incident. These include:

  • OEM operation & maintenance manual
  • Safe Operation Procedures
  • Service & maintenance records
  • Risk assessment
  • Daily pre start checklist
  • Safety prop & instruction label
  • Controls labelled as to purpose & method of operation
  • Control direction consistent with machine movement

As always, if you would like further information about this issue, please contact us on 1300 728 852 or via the contact button below.

Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information. 

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