An excavator operator suffered minor injuries when a Hitachi tracked-log-loader toppled while being loaded on to a road transporter.


The operator aligned the log-loader with the rear of the truck. He slewed it round and placed the grapple on the ground to provide stability and act as a braking force.

He then drove the loader up on to the truck near to the point of balance where it would slip easily onto the truck deck. He used the boom to raise the lower end of the excavator, levelling it with the deck.

When checking the position of the tracks in the relation to the deck, the operator noticed that the loader had drifted to one side. He decided to correct this and began to move the machine. In the process, he drove the loader against the boom which was still touching the ground. The loader slipped sideways off the truck and rolled over.

The operator suffered bruising to his leg and cuts to his face. Damage to the truck trailer and excavator was estimated at $15,000.

[image] Shows the log loader and indicates the way it tipped over


The investigation determined that the grapple resting on the road could have grabbed at the road surface. A track cleat may also have grabbed and given enough back-pressure to force the excavator sideways. This was further compounded by the following additional factors:

  • wet steel on steel
  • mud and water on the track frame
  • the trailer deck not being level
  • the off-centre position of the excavator on the truck.

WorkSafe New Zealand advice

  • During loading and unloading, maintain eye contact with the transporter driver, who should give directions as needed.
  • Maintain minimum engine revs to prevent rapid movement.
  • Chock transporter deck correctly and site transporter to minimise risk to the machine and operator should anything go wrong.
  • Wear seatbelts at all times when operating mobile plant.
  • Keep the cab doors shut during loading/unloading to avoid being thrown out in an accident.

Published: October 2010. Updated August 2017.

While this bulletin has not been updated to reflect current work health and safety legislation (the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and regulations), it may still contain relevant information and practices to keep workers and others healthy and safe. Please read this guidance in conjunction with all relevant industry standards that apply to you as a PCBU. This guidance will be progressively reviewed and either updated, replaced with other guidance, or revoked.

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