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Hazard Alert – Overloading mobile equipment led to worker’s death
A worker at a construction site was crushed by a load of oriented strand board (“0SB”) sheathing that slid off the overloaded fork attachment of a skid-steer loader. He suffered fatal injuries.
The worker was in front of the loader, directing the operator. When the operator raised the loader’s forks to position the load, the machine’s right front tire sank into the ground. The loader lurched forward and the straps holding the OSB together broke.
WorkSafeBC determined that overloading had destabilized the machine and was the main cause of the incident. The loader’s capacity with the attached fork was 708 kilograms (1,560 pounds). The OSB weighed 1,578 kilograms (3,478 pounds) — more than twice the loader’s capacity. The ground itself was also a factor. It was bumpy and sloped in the incident area, as well as soft in some places. The manufacturer’s manual stated that the loader should be operated only on clean and level ground. Further, the operator was new on the job and was not formally trained to operate a skid-steer loader.
The worker’s position in relation to the loader also played a part in the incident. He was standing in front of the loader and slightly to the left of it, with a dirt bank behind him that prevented his escape from the falling load of OSB.