1. The Broken Ladder

The incident relates to a Construction Worker using a ladder :

He was standing on about the 3rd or 4th rung (about one metre above ground height) when the ladder broke.

He fell to the ground and his head hit on the concrete base and he was taken to hospital with severe head injuries.

As happens with all emergency admissions to Hospitals following site incidents, the State WHS Inspectors are called automatically and were quickly onsite.

The ladder as pictured , broke in two places.

(We had previously photographed him wearing all necessary PPE . He and the rest of the Team had signed onto the Company Site SWMS, so that was in order)

The Safety Inspectors are pursuing inquires :

  1. About the quality of the Ladder – even though it had a ‘Rating’ on it of 150KG.
  2. Who the importing Company is? And how such a flimsy ladder could possibly get into Australia?

Safety Obligations:

As the PCBU /Site Safety Controller: You have an obligation to supply Safe Plant to your worksites.

To achieve this :

  • Only allow Plant on site that are in your Plant Registers.
  • We recommend that in the SWMS we supply, we remind you that your Ladders comply to AS/NZS 1892 Portable ladders series as is stipulated in the C.O.P.

[ Managing-Risks-Falls-Workplaces-COP-2018 ]

2. Separation of Mobile Plant from your Workers !

Excavator Think Swing Zone

Excavator :: Think Swing Zone

Skid Steer Fast Mover

Skid Steer : Fast Mover

Crane unstable Loads + Swing Zone+ Drop Zone

Crane: : unstable Loads + Swing Zone+ Drop Zone


Telehandler/Manitou : Swing Zone + Drop Zone + Operator unsighted from you

All Site Workers need to know the hazards of working on specific sites!

CHECK – what are the risks and what controls are in place to separate plant and workers plus how are the workers implementing monitoring and reviewing those controls?

[This is a Safety Directive from the QLD Work Place Inspectors following this incident]

A plumbing company team were laying pipes in a trench.

The Operator swung the Excavator around and the metal teeth on the Excavator Bucket hit the back of the head of one of one of the Workers. He required urgent medical attention.

As in the previous case study, the WHS Inspectors were there quickly following the Medi-Alert – and shut the site down.

We were called in to write a very specific SWMS relating to this type of High Risk Construction .

The legal implications for you as the Supervisor / PCBU –

Your Tool box talk today must include: interaction between Plant and Workers in your Safety Procedures at this site today.

(a) identify the work that is high risk construction work; and

(b) state hazards relating to the high risk construction work and risks to health and safety associated with those hazards; and

(c) describe the measures to be implemented to control the risks; and

(d) describe how the control measures are to be implemented, monitored and reviewed.

Referring to (a), the High Risk to the Team, is the coming into contact with the Mobile Plant by:

  • Being struck by the metal bucket (or attachments) or Booms.
  • Crushed by the Tracks or Wheels
  • Hit by the machine body if it is moving
  • Knocked into the path of the machine

The takeaway from this is that the Combination of Tool box meetings plus this SWMS “ Separation of Mobile Plant from Workers” forms part of your obligation to ensure all your Workers understand this as both a Safety and Training Directive from you as the PCBU.

Contact Us