WorkSafe investigates spinning pipe wrench spanner fatality

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WorkSafe WA is currently investigating an incident in which a worker was fatally injured during a rock drilling truck maintenance work.

Preliminary investigation reveals that the worker may have been struck in the head by a 48 inch pipe wrench spanner attached to the rotating drill rod at the drill table section of the rock drilling truck. Initial evidence indicates that the rotating drill’s shaft rotated under power causing the spanner to spin in the direction of the worker.

WA’s safety regulator says that workers planning to conduct maintenance on plant of this nature should ensure plant is isolated and de-energised, unless specified by the manufacturer’s instruction. WorkSafe also highlighted the importance of involving competent persons with training and experience relevant to the issue, supervisors, workers and safety and health representatives and to communicate the work process in relation to risk to affected workers. It is also important to provide instructions, training and supervision to workers and to monitor the effectiveness of the controls.

Further investigation is ongoing. The safety alert is available here.

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