In two separate recent incidents, a Roller and a Water Truck have rolled over during road construction works on VicRoads projects. In both instances the vehicles left the constructed surface, slid down embankments and overturned onto their sides. The vehicles fell down embankments varying in height from 1.2 to 5 metres.
In both incidents the driver / operator was injured. If seatbelts are not worn, the driver is not restrained from ejection from the vehicle and significant and perhaps fatal injuries are possible during a rollover. A truck driver can fall at least 2.5 metres from their seat to the other side of the cabin and sustain significant injuries from being thrown around inside a rolling vehicle. Unsecured drivers may also be ejected from the cabin and crushed by the rolling vehicle.
MPD Management Responsibilities
Could all Contract Administrators and Surveillance Managers ensure Contractors conduct Risk Assessments for mobile plant and vehicle work near embankments and excavations, and that risk controls eliminate or substantially reduce the risk of a fall or roll over from height.
In compliance with Plant Regulations 711 (1) and 711 (2) and in addition to any controls to prevent a fall or roll over, all plant working near excavations, maintenance pits, verges, ramps or embankments shall be fitted with Roll Over Protection (ROP’s) or Cabins and fitted with Seat Belts. The wearing of seat belts should be mandatory in this situation to prevent ejection and crushing of the operator by the plant during the rollover.
Under the Plant Regulations 106 (4), vehicles such as Trucks require the same consideration when being operated on a road construction project. In addition to the activity risk assessment considering the risk of a roll over, the wearing of seat belts during the movement of all vehicles on site must be an essential consideration to reduce injuries and prevent fatalities should any traffic incident occur on site. In effect, the rules should not differ from travel on a public road.
The wearing of Seat Belts during all plant and vehicle movements on road construction sites, in addition to speed restrictions, signage and the delineation of ‘edges’ so far as practicable, shall be included in activity risk assessments and are recommended for inclusion in site safety rules.