The HSE has has issued a safety alert concerning swing-up stabilisers on lorry loader cranes after a number of fatalities linked to their use.

The warning is contained in a document produced by The Association of Lorry Loader Manufacturers and Importers (ALLMI) and follows an HSE fatal accident investigation into the death of a driver who was struck by lorry crane stabiliser legs that swing up rather than retract. The HSE is also currently investigating a more recent fatality which may have similarities with the first accident

The completed HSE investigation found that the operator was using the hold-to-run levers at the crane base and was not watching the stabiliser as it was being retracted. The stabiliser leg was in a horizontal position when it struck the operator.

More details can be found on a page of the ALLMI website.

HSE is warning that the recent incidents reinforce the importance of locking swing-up stabilisers in the upright position before the stabiliser beam is deployed or retracted.

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It states: “It is essential that operators fully observe the operation of the stabiliser leg during deployment and stowage. Operators must be made aware that the operation of the swing-up function must be separate from the movement of the stabiliser beam (i.e. they should not use both functions simultaneously).”

It warns that the risk of crushing is increased on the side where the swing-up stabiliser tilts towards the operator and levers at the crane base and advises that operators are familiar with the manual and don’t stand in the wrong place.

“Operators must be fully conversant with the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the deployment and stowage of swing-up stabilisers. There can be considerable variation between different manufacturer systems. Operators must not be positioned in (or lean / reach into) danger zones where there is a risk of crushing," it says.

“If swing-up stabilisers are used on sites where the stabiliser is only partially deployed, there is an increased risk of creating a danger zone where the swing-up stabiliser tilts towards the operator/levers at the crane base. In this case, consideration should be given to repositioning the vehicle to ensure further extension of the stabiliser beam is achievable prior to the swing-up leg being deployed/stowed," the HSE warns.