In September 2020, a worker was seriously injured when the side-by-side vehicle he was using at an industrial workplace overturned.
Investigations are continuing.
Preventing a similar incident
A side-by-side vehicle (SSV) is different to a quad bike. It is typically sit-in, has a steering wheel, seat belts, rollover protection and a higher load capacity.
Operating side-by-side vehicles can pose a number of risks to drivers and passengers. When a side-by-side vehicle overturns, there is potential to be killed if thrown from or crushed by the vehicle. People can also be buffeted inside the cabin or hit by loose objects and receive serious or even fatal injuries.
Work health and safety (WHS) legislation imposes duties on designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers to ensure plant such as side-by-side vehicles are, so far as is reasonably practicable, without risk to health and safety. Duty holders must ensure the provision and maintenance of safe plant such as side-by-side vehicles. Effective risk management starts with a commitment to health and safety from those who operate and manage the business or undertaking.
Managing WHS risks is an ongoing process. Risk management involves four steps:
- Identify hazards – find out what could cause harm
- Assess risks – understand the nature of the harm that could be caused by the hazard, how serious the harm could be, and the likelihood of it happening
- Control risks – implement the most effective control measures reasonably practicable in the circumstances
- Review control measures – to ensure they are working as planned.
Control measures are ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest. This is known as the hierarchy of control. Duty holders must work through this hierarchy to choose the controls which most effectively eliminate or, where this is not reasonably practicable, minimise the risks.
Effective control measures are often made up of a combination of controls.
Risk control measures may include, but are not limited to:
Before selecting a side-by side vehicle, assess the risks and decide whether it is the most suitable vehicle for the task or whether there is another vehicle more suitable in the circumstances. For example:a ute.
This involves implementing a physical control measure or changing physical characteristics of the plant or equipment to reduce the risk.
- install door nets in side-by-sides to help keep body parts within the rollover zone
- use physical barriers such as safety barriers to separate vehicles and stored materials
If risk remains, it must be further minimised by implementing administrative controls.
- regular maintenance and inspection of the side by side vehicle by a competent person, according to the manufacturer’s specifications
- providing operators with appropriate information, training and instruction to ensure the side-by-side vehicle is operated safely and competently according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- develop a safe system of work that considers:
- layout of the workplace
- the nature of the task
- environmental conditions such as, weather, ground conditions and terrain. You may need to reassess these conditions daily, or even hourly, depending on the weather and drying times of the ground.
- ensuring all occupants wear a seatbelt while the side-by-side is operating (remembering to put it back on each time they get back into the vehicle).
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Any remaining risk must be minimised with suitable personal protective equipment.
- a well-fitted, appropriate helmet
- eye protection, gloves, sturdy footwear and clothing covering arms and legs
Work Safe Queensland
November 18, 2020