Alert on electric T-bar lifters

A diligent HSR alerted the Union OH&S Unit to some safety concerns with the use of electric powered lifters delivered to site.

The type of T-bar lifter shown was being used on a construction site, when it was realised that when the RCD tripped and the power went off, the electric motor didn't hold the weight of the material being lifted, and began to lower itself under load.

Other types of lifters are manually operated, and remain in position if the worker stops winding the winch; ie, fails to safe. As these types of lifters are manually operated, they are exempt from the Plant Regulations.

As this type of equipment is not manually operated, it is covered by the Plant Regulations.

On further inspection, the safety committee decided it was best to cease using the equipment until some of their concerns were addressed in relation to design, guarding,and operator controls: Specific questions asked were in relation to:

  • No SWL decal to indicate the maximum lifting capacity of the lifter.
  • No indication it has been designed to meet Australian Standards. (AS 2550.1 2011: cranes hoist and winches; safe use and requirements. AS 1418.1: cranes,hoists and winches, general requirements.)
  • Electrical safety concerns with the grade of wiring and mechanical protection of the wiring.
  • No information, instruction or training to the workers on what to do if power was disconnected.
  • Exposed cabling and pinch points.
  • No log book or per-operational checklist.
  • Service history.

Whilst the use of this equipment removes hazards identified with regard to manual handling (cranking the winch), and the ability to stand back from under the load.

This is another example to make sure that when we introduce new methods of working, we identify any new hazards that are introduced into the workplace.

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