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HSE SAFETY NOTICE: SKIP HOOK FALSE ENGAGEMENT

Fatality prompts safety notice on potential danger from builders skip

A fatality during the tipping-out of a ‘builders’ skip has identified a potential danger whereby fabrication of the skip can result in a lip on which tipping hooks may ‘falsely’ engage. HSE Safety Notice OPSTD 9-2010 highlights this potential danger and provides advice on corrective actions.

Background

There are no nationally established standards (e.g. British Standards) for the manufacture of builders skips which are generally fabricated from steel plate. Often the base plate extends beyond the end plates producing a lip.

A hazardous situation can occur if the tipping hooks fail to engage with the tipping bar but instead ‘snag’ on the lip (See photograph 2). This false engagement of the hooks is not necessarily visible from the operating position and, superficially, will behave like a proper engagement until an angle of tipping is reached whereby the hooks are pushed off the lip.

When the skip is no longer restrained it will swing-out over the back of the lorry, the momentum of which could lift the front of the lorry off the ground. The potential for the lorry to overbalance is increased where there are shortcomings in the deployment, positioning or function of the stabilisers.

The immediate risk is to the operator because of their close proximity due to the controls being typically positioned at one side of the lorry.

Action required
  • existing skips should be examined and where a protrusion exists that could give rise to false engagement with the tipping hooks it should be removed from that area and the fabrication made good.
  • new skips should be manufactured without a protrusion that could give rise to false engagement with the tipping hooks (in line with the CHEM association standard TS14).
  • instruct driver-operators to perform a visual check to ensure the proper engagement of the hooks on the catch bar during tipping-out.
  • instruct driver-operators to routinely check skips and skip loader vehicles and to report any defects.

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