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Safety Alerts

We issue Safety Alerts to warn about serious workplace safety risks.

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SafetyAlert AsbestosAndAirConditioning

Asbestos and Air Conditioning Ductwork

Issued March 2018

Asbestos-containing millboard was once widely used in the construction industry due to its flame-resistant properties, and commonly used to line compartments containing heat or spark-producing electrical equipment. In particular, asbestos-containing millboard surrounded reheating banks or coils throughout the ductwork of air conditioning units.


Cold storage facilities

Issued October 2016

Hazards exist for people who work in cold storage facilities - walk-in coldrooms and freezers.

The temperature and duration of exposure to cold can result in workers sustaining frostbite and hypothermia, while extended exposure can lead to death.

ha combine harvesters

Hazard Alert - Combine harvesters was issued in March 2015.

A worker was fatally injured while attempting to correct an operating problem on a combine harvester with a header attachment.

Harsh environmental conditions had contributed to the seizing up of a part of the machine. The worker did not isolate the power source before attempting the inspection and repair, resulting in fatal crush injuries from uncontrolled movement caused by the hydraulic system activating unexpectedly.

ha control of integrated plant and equipment

Hazard Alert - Control of integrated plant and equipment was issued in January 2013.

A mill hand was fatally injured when he was crushed by a moving component of the machine he was working on.

The worker was performing a maintenance task through a hatch door which was activated via a solenoid operated pneumatic control valve. The emergency stop (E-Stop) had been activated but did not isolate the compressed air supply.

ha electrical sub boards

Hazard Alert - Electrical 'sub-boards' (distribution boards) was issued in March 2016.

A worker received an electric shock and suffered burnt fingers when he came in contact with exposed live busbars in a 'sub-board' (distribution board or switchboard).

The 'sub-board' did not have enough pole fillers to cover all live points in the board. The power was not isolated and the door to the live 'sub-board' was left open. A worker in the vicinity, in answering a mobile phone call, lost concentration and inadvertently leant against the live 'sub-board', sustaining the electric shock injury.

EscalatorMovingWalkwayVoidIn fills

Escalator and moving walkway void in-fills

Issued July 2016

Escalators and moving walkways are common in shopping centres, sports centres and airports to carry passengers between levels. In many cases they pass from a lower to an upper level with a void between the moving handrail and balustrade. This is known as the void in-fill area.

ha exposed covered opal field shafts

Hazard Alert - Exposed or covered opal field shafts was issued in January 2015.

In August 2014 an opal miner lost his life when he fell into a blind Caldweld shaft on the opal fields. The shaft location was not clearly identified or guarded, having been covered with corrugated iron and excavated soil. The covering collapsed under the miner's weight.

Other shafts in the vicinity were also covered in a variety of unsatisfactory ways or left open or exposed without identification or edge protection.

ha failure of synthetic fibre slings

Hazard Alert - Failure of synthetic fibre slings was issued in January 2013.

Synthetic fibre slings or 'soft' slings are regularly used in workplaces for the lifting and moving of loads by cranes.

While synthetic fibre slings may have certain advantages over wire rope and chain slings, they are susceptible to damage and can be cut if exposed to sharp edges or corners without protection.

forklift work platforms

Forklift work platforms

Issued November 2017

Forklift work platforms should be used to elevate workers to perform short duration tasks where it is not practical to use scaffolding, elevating work platforms or similar devices.

ha h frame roll cages

Hazard Alert - H-frame roll cages was issued in June 2012.

An incident occurred involving the use of an H-frame roll cage in a retail store. H-frame roll cages are wheeled cages used for the movement of stock and goods.

The incident involved a member of the public being struck by an H-frame roll cage that was being moved by a retail employee.

ha hazards of reo bars

Hazard Alert - Hazards of reo-bars was issued in December 2012.

A formwork employee, gaining access over a 1.2 metre high framework structure under construction, fell approximately 300mm onto an uncapped reinforcement bar, when the tie wire of the reinforcement being used as a ladder collapsed under his weight.

The worker sustained a severe penetration wound injury resulting in admission to hospital.

ha hydraulic fluid on earth moving equipment

Hazard Alert - Hydraulic fluid on earth moving equipment was issued in January 2012.

An incident occurred involving a large hydraulic excavator that was engulfed in fire while in operation.

The fire was fuelled by the sudden release of hydraulic fluid at high pressure. The hydraulic fluid is used to power the equipment.


Hazard Alert - Hydraulic hose fittings and connections was issued in February 2014.

A worker was injured when struck in the head by a hydraulic hose and fitting that had suddenly separated from its connection point to a 50 tonne hydraulic jack, while operating under pressure during a lifting procedure.


Hazard Alert - Impact when using hardened steel tools was issued in September 2014.

While using a sledge hammer to strike and loosen the hardened bucket tooth on earthmoving equipment, a worker received a serious chest injury when a shard of hardened steel from the tooth imbedded itself in the workers' chest.


In situ grain silos

Issued February 2018

In situ grain silos on farms have been associated with various incidents including falls from heights, engulfment, structural collapse and being damaged by moving vehicles, creating risk to the health and safety of workers.

ha multi deck car carrier hydraulics

Hazard Alert - Multi-deck car carrier hydraulics was issued in January 2011.

A person was standing on the lower deck of a multi-deck car carrier when the moveable deck was operated. The person was trapped between the upper and lower deck sustaining fatal injuries.

bin lifting

Portable field bin lifting mechanism kick-back

Issued November 2017

During the process of manually raising or lowering portable field bins on farms, workers have received serious injury when struck on the head by the lever.

ha road roller reverse travel

Hazard Alert - Road roller reverse travel was issued in November 2012.

A road worker was fatally injured when struck by a multi-tyred road roller during routine road repair activity.

The road roller was travelling in reverse and attempting to pass in close proximity to the worker who was performing a manual task behind another slow moving vehicle.

The road roller, without warning, suddenly deviated from the intended direction of travel catching the road worker off-guard.

ha safe working in ceiling space

Hazard Alert - Safe working in ceiling space was issued in November 2011.

In October 2011, a contractor engaged in home renovation work was electrocuted while working in the ceiling space.

ha sheep shearing

Hazard Alert - Sheep shearing was issued in March 2011.

A shearer was fatally injured after being struck in the neck by a wide comb handpiece.

safetyalert shopping trolleys on moving walks

Shopping trolleys on moving walks

Issued October 2010

A person was pushing a shopping trolley on an upward travelling moving walk when the trolley moved backwards.

The shopping trolley rolled onto the person pushing it. They then fell onto a second person, who sustained fatal injuries.

ha steel erection and the use of chemical anchors

Hazard Alert - Steel erection and the use of chemical anchors was issued in September 2011.

There have been incidents where steel columns have collapsed during building construction, all involving the use of chemical anchorages.

Drill-in anchors (chemical or mechanical) are sometimes used where cast-in bolts have been placed in the wrong positions, or when changes to the design are required after the concrete has been cast.

ha three point linkage connections

Hazard Alert - Three point linkage connections was issued in February 2012.

A worker was injured while clearing a log from beneath a slasher attached to a tractor via a three point linkage.

A chain and two D-shackles were used as the top link between the tractor and slasher to provide a flexible connection for rough terrain. A pin had fallen out of a D-shackle and the slasher dropped onto the worker as he removed the obstruction.

ha transport of flammable gas cylinders

Hazard Alert - Transport of flammable gas cylinders was issued in August 2012.

A person received serious burn injuries when an LPG barbeque cylinder kept in a car boot on a hot day (34C) for about one hour, released gas which was subsequently ignited when the boot door was opened and the boot light came on.

ha truck tipping and tilting trays

Hazard Alert - Truck tipping and tilting trays was issued in May 2011.

There have been several incidents where workers have suffered fatal or serious injuries when carrying out inspections or undertaking maintenance / repair work underneath raised tipping or tilting trays on trucks and trailers.

ha vehicle hoists

Hazard Alert - Vehicle hoists was issued in June 2011.

A person received fatal injuries while working under a two post vehicle hoist. A vehicle had been suspended on the hoist enabling the person to work beneath the vehicle. Subsequently the hoist descended pinning the person.

ha wine tank operation

Hazard Alert - Wine tank operation was issued in March 2011.

A worker was temporarily asphyxiated when attempting to retrieve an item of plant from a wine storage tank.

The incident occurred when a wine storage tank was being emptied. A worker opened the bottom tank door to inspect the wine level when the tank was near empty. As the worker opened the door, a circlip securing the door to the hinging mechanism dislodged, causing the door to fall into the tank.

safetyalert wood chipper blade failure

Wood chipper blade failure

Issued October 2012

A wood chipper machine was in use when a sudden failure resulted in a cutting blade shattering with large fragments ejected through the solid metal guard.

The failure had the potential to cause serious injury to the operator or other workers in the vicinity.

sa working near mobile plant

Working near mobile plant

Issued June 2017

Working in close proximity to mobile plant, such as cranes, forklifts, earth moving equipment, elevating work platforms, delivery vehicles, order pickers and prime movers and cranes, increases the risk of serious injury or fatal incidents.


Hazard Alert - Working under elevated motor vehicles was issued in January 2014.

A worker was fatally injured when hit and crushed by a falling vehicle axle assembly while it was being positioned ready for installation onto the vehicle.

The vehicle was supported on stands and elevated to a height that allowed the worker to lie underneath. The axle was temporarily unsupported in the final assembly position when it dislodged and fell onto the worker.