Health & Safety-Related Alerts

Plant-related Safety Alerts received from bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or from construction employers, plant-hire organisations or from manufacturers can be downloaded from this page.

Latest alerts commence from the top.

HSE-issued Safety Notice - Lorry loaders Crush Risk

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released a safety notice on the dangers of operators potentially being crushed from powered tilting stabilisers for which has caused a number of fatalities. This HSE notice supplements industry-issued safety alerts and guidance issued in mid-2022 following another crushing incident for which guidance on safe practices issued at the time can be downloaded below.

The contents of the HSE safety notice can be read at:

Slinger/Signaller Fatality

A fatality occured during a lifting operation where during the initial stage of the lift, the load became snagged on an obstruction, resulting in the sling being overloaded and breaking and the load falling on the Slinger / Signaller.

The Principal Contractor has issued a safety alert outlining how the incident occurred and can be downloaded below.

The Industry Lifting Lead AP Group (ILLAPG) are also devising additionl guidance and support material to make lifting operations safer. More information about the ILLAPG's actvities and publications can be viewed here

Dropped Radio in Shaft

Whilst a member of the site team was entering a hoist to travel down a shaft to access a deep excavation power tunnel, their two-way radio which was clipped into their bottom jacket pocket, became caught and fell through a gap (approx. 75mm) between the enclosed platform and the lift. The radio fell 42 metres to the bottom of the pit shaft, but fortunately there were no persons at the shaft bottom at the time.

The alert can be downloaded below and provides some preventative actions to be taken.

Lorry Loader Operator Fatality

A delivery driver operating a lorry loader was preparing to leave site, having offloaded a storage unit, when they became trapped by one of the vehicle’s stabiliser legs during the retraction procedure. They sustained very serious injuries and sadly passed away in hospital.

The Principal Contractor, Skanska UK PLC, wishes to share information of this unfortunate incident to help spread learning of the incident as widely as possible within industry to help prevent any reoccurrence in the future. The Association of Lorry Loaders and Manufacturers (ALLMI) has issued guidance on preventing re-occurence of the incident.

The safety alert and the guidance document can be downloaded below.

Loading Shovel Safety Alert

An operator of a loading shovel suffered a severe laceration to a finger, which resulted in over 7 days lost injury time due to the failure of a CAT 980 arm rest unit.

More information on the incident and how it was caused can be viewed at:

Quick Hitch Detachment

In February 2019, a 13-tonne 360 excavator with a hydraulic breaker attached to an automatic quick hitch was breaking out ground. The breaker detached unintentionally from the quick hitch and landed on a worker in the vicinity, landing on their foot, which resulted in their right leg needed to be amputated below knee level. The HSE investigation found that the employer had not set up an exclusion zone in the working area and that there were no marshallers present to ensure the excavator was isolated before others could enter the work zone. There was also no dedicated attachment changing area. The company was fined £34,000 and ordered to pay £1,935.84 in costs.

The HSE commented that “This incident could have easily resulted in a fatality and could have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. There should be suitable, defined safe systems of work so that persons who need to work in close proximity to excavators can do so safely.” Despite improved equipment and methods of working, unintentional detachment of equipment using quick-hitch couplers still occur.

The Construction Industry Plant Safety Group have produced a good guidance practice for the safe use of quick hitches on excavators and a good practice guidance on reducing unintentional movement of plant, which outlines the need for exclusion zones and appropriate control measures. Both publications can be downloaded free of charge from the Construction Industry Plant Safety Group publications page in the Publications section of this website.

Crawler Crane Overturns

There have been a number of recent instability issues with telescopic boom-type crawler cranes, with the principle cause of each of the incidents being that the tracks were in the retracted/transport position whilst a slewing activity took place. The failure mode of each incident being that the crane became unstable as there was either insufficient extension or that the boom was elevated, failing to counteract the overturning moment of the counterweights when slewed out of line with the chassis.

Although the HSE has advised that these incidents are not classed as a dangerous occurrence, nevertheless they warrant attention and action to avoid future occurrence. Therefore a safety alert from a manufacturer has been issued to raise awareness and how it can be avoided. Good practice would be that, once in the transport configuration, the crane should not be slewed away from the in-line-with-the-track position. Ideally it should be slew locked ready for manoeuvring or loading onto transport.

Although the cranes affected were from a number of manufacturers, the principle applies to any boom-type crawlers where the counterweights are not removed for transport and the electronic control systems do not recognise the unsafe actions of the operator and the consequent unsafe configuration of the crane. The manufacturing standards have been met as there is no requirement for identification / automatic prevention of this condition being reached. The safety alert should therefore be generalised as a potential issue with any crane of this type and the recommendations in the Sennebogen document should be applicable to all manufacturers of telescopic crawler cranes.

The Sennebogen-issued safety alert can be downloaded below.

Crushing of mechanic due to falling cab

A mechanic had raised a tilting cab to access the engine area. The configuration of the mast prevented the cab from being safely latched. A leak in the lifting ram caused the cab to lower inadvertantly, trapping and crushing the mechanic who died from their injuries. The Cadent-issued safety bulletin provides a number of key learning points and actions that should be taken to mitigate future incidents.