The dangers of failing to follow procedures……

Recently, one of the Hill technical engineers was called out to inspect a machine and quick coupler which had been involved in an incident where a worker was injured when he was struck by a bucket which separated from the coupler. No fault was found during the inspection which could have caused the separation, with both the machine and the coupler working correctly.

Unusually however there was CCTV footage of the incident and this appears to show the driver moving the bucket from within the appointed attachment changing area without following the full locking procedure and testing the security of the attachment to the coupler with the ‘shake, rattle and roll’ method. For most contractors the testing procedure following the attachment change is compulsory. Most sites insist on a protected enclosed area where attachments are stored and changed to protect other operatives. Even if only moving an attachment a few metres operators should ensure that attachments are correctly connected before moving from the appointed attachment changing area.

The Health and Safety Manager for the company involved made the following comment “Thanks to Hill’s quick response we were able to eliminate a mechanical or hydraulic problem with the machine or hitch as a problem. Viewing the CCTV footage of the incident, it does appear that the hitch was being used without a bucket being fully locked in place and that the correct attachment procedure was not completed before the bucket was moved outside of the changing area. However our investigation continues.”

If is determined that the failure to complete the full attachment procedure is the cause of the incident, this accident will become another statistic where the injury caused could have been avoided had all the correct procedures been followed.