In December 2023, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the UK’s national health and safety regulator, issued a safety notice regarding lorry loaders with powered ‘tilting’ stabilisers.
HSE’s safety notice said: “On some lorry loaders with powered ‘tilting’ (also known as ‘swing-up’ or ‘rotating’) stabilisers people can be crushed against the bodywork of the vehicle when the stabilisers are being retracted.
“There is a risk of serious injury or death when a powered tilting stabiliser is being rotated to a vertical position. If a stabiliser is retracted towards the vehicle when not vertical, the operator or others positioned in the danger zone can be crushed.” (Lorry loaders crush risk from powered tilting stabilisers (2023) HSE. Available here.)
Three fatal incidents have occurred since 2019 in Great Britain where the retracting stabiliser leg has struck the operators, while it was only part-rotated to an approximately horizontal position.
HSE have asked all personnel involved in lorry loader operations to share the safety notice and to seek safety improvements from manufacturers.
HSE guidance recommends lorry loader owners to:
“Consult with your manufacturer at the earliest opportunity to secure reasonably practicable improvements to reduce the risk of crushing within the existing general configuration and certification of the machine. For example, it may be possible to:
- install software modifications to prevent the stabiliser from retracting unless the leg is in the vertical stowage position
- install interlocks to prevent the stabiliser legs being retracted unless the leg is vertical
- disable the base controls by removing the fixed levers and use only remote controls”
(Lorry loaders crush risk from powered tilting stabilisers (2023) HSE. Available here.)
HSE also advise lorry loader operations to includecrushing hazard from tilting stabilisers in their risk assessments and include appropriate control measures in all lorry loader procedural documentation, such as lift plans. The HSE notice provides detailed guidance that includes risk assessments, safe operation and training here.
If you need help managing the safety of your lifting operations, contact Danny Travis, director of SRC:LCS, DT@srclcs.co.uk.