Individual or Team Actions » LTA work method » LTA ground conditions

17Contractor Struck By Bull Gear Cover

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Brief Description of Incident/Accident & Description of Consequences/Outcomes:

Two dragline bullgear covers were removed during a maintenance shut down and placed on a dry level area for cleaning. They were placed in an upright position to facilitate the cleaning and degreasing process. Each cover weighs about 750 kg.

The ground around the covers became soft and muddy from the water used during the cleaning process. One cover became unstable striking a contractor's employee and the second cover knocking both to the ground while narrowly missing another employee. The injured person was treated on site by paramedics before being transported to the local hospital. He was then flown to Brisbane to receive specialist attention for serious lower back injuries.

The photograph above shows one of the covers being held upright by a crane. This crane was not holding the cover at the time of the accident. Note the muddy ground conditions.

Identified Root Causes:

The effect of changing ground conditions (from dry to wet) on the stability of the covers was not understood.

The covers were not placed in their most stable position or stabilised by extra support before cleaning commenced.

Energy Type(s) Involved:

Potential fatality: heavy object becoming unstable

Equipment Type(s):

No equipment or machinery involved

Root & Contributing Cause(s):

LTA ground conditions

LTA maintenance work method

Stated or Potential Consequence(s):

Potential Fatality

Preventative/Recommended/Accepted Steps of Risk Mitigation, Points of Interest:

  • Heavy objects should be placed in the most stable position or stabilised by extra support before persons work on or near them.
  • The potential effect of changing conditions on the stability of any heavy object should be recognised.
  • All potential energy sources (potential or kinetic) should be recognised so that risks can be managed.


Queensland Government Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI)


Here are the results.


Reference Type:

Safety Alert #70

Mine Type:

Any Mine Type


Potential & Kinetic - Gravity > Falls from heights / Falling object(s)





Australia, Queensland

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