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                        2 min read

                        Workers struck by front-end loader bucket

                        Workers struck by front-end loader bucket

                        Two road maintenance workers have suffered injuries as a result of being struck by a front-end loader bucket in July last year.

                        It’s understood the pair were attaching an aggregate spreader to the rear of a tipper truck using chains attached to the bucket of a front-end loader. The bucket fell off and struck both workers, seriously injuring one of them. Investigations into the incident are continuing.


                        How can I avoid this on my site?

                        When using earthmoving equipment for lifting purposes, there are a number of very important safety measures to have in place. These measures usually flow from conducting a risk assessment and safe operating procedure (SOP) on the item of equipment to be used and the task the equipment is to be used for. In this case, a safe work methods statement (SWMS) as the work in question would almost certainly be considered high risk construction work.

                        A risk assessment of the loader should have identified that, if it was going to be used for lifting operations, the machine should have a range of controls in place to assist in ensuring safe operation, such as a closed eye lifting point, levelness device, rated capacity labelling and potentially load holding cylinders, depending on the lifting capacity of the machine. The risk assessment should also have considered the attachment or coupling of the loader bucket to the loader boom, to ensure it was securely fastened and the operator had a way of ensuring it continued to be securely fastened, which would depend on the type of coupling fitted.

                        A SWMS should have considered lifting operations and specified as a minimum to use the boom's lifting point only to attach slings or chains, to never attach chains to buckets or bucket teeth, and never to stand under suspended loads or in the potential strike zone of a suspended load. A safe operating procedure for the loader should have identified dos and don'ts regarding using the device to lift freely suspended loads, and included similar information to the SWMS. 

                        Finally, a daily pre-start check on the loader should have asked the operator to check a range of important safety and other issues, including the condition of pivot points and hinge pins securing the bucket to the loader.

                        In addition, control measures can also be implemented at any workplace to avoid a similar incident occurring to you or your workers. Some of these include:

                        • Implementing operational exclusion zones around areas where loads are being lifted or other machinery is in use.

                        • Ensuring all relevant staff are fully trained to operate the machinery required for their job.


                        Plant Assessor can help

                        Plant Assessor can help you understand the safety requirements related to your machinery, ultimately helping to reduce the risk of injury to you and your workers. If you would like more information about Plant Assessor, contact our machinery compliance experts on 1300 728 852 or email


                        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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