HSE Safety Alert issued: Swing-up stabilisers on lorry loader cranes

8th December 2021

At least one and possibly two people have been killed after being struck by the type of lorry crane stabiliser legs that swing up (also known as ‘tilting’ or ‘rotating’) rather than retract.

The Association of Lorry Loader Manufacturers and Importers (ALLMI), which promotes safe use as well as represents industry interests, has been alerted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) following a fatal accident investigation. The HSE has also informed ALLMI of a more recent fatality that is still being investigated and which may have similarities with the first.

ALLMI, in turn, is spreading the lessons to the construction and haulage sectors.

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.

Swing-up stabilisers are fitted to lorry loaders predominantly to negate the need for widescale relocation of chassis furniture during installation and have become increasingly common over the last 15 years. They may be either manually or hydraulically operated. Operation is either by levers at the crane base or via remote control, dependent upon specification.

ALLMI and the HSE says that the recent incidents reinforce the importance of locking swing-up stabilisers in the vertical (upright) position before the stabiliser beam is deployed or retracted.

The warning continues: “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 explains that the risk of crushing is increased on the side where the swing-up stabiliser tilts towards the operator/levers at the crane base. Other instructions include read 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 adds: “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.”

*If your company has any questions about using Swing-up stabilisers on lorry loader cranes, please don’t hesitate to contact us at BSG: enquries@bsgltd.co.uk, Tel 0300 304 9070