Accident reinforces CBH safety need

30 Sep, 2011 02:00 AM
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CBH's facility at the Esperance Port.
CBH's facility at the Esperance Port.

IT is expected WA growers will face longer queues at CBH receival sites this harvest as the bulk grain handler beefs up safety following a serious accident at its Esperance Port last week.

A man was seriously injured while unloading a truck which led to the ban of all CBH road movements throughout the State for 24 hours and a subsequent investigation into the matter.

CBH general manager of operations Colin Tutt said CBH and Worksafe were involved in reviewing the accident which saw the man immediately air-lifted to Perth.

Although Mr Tutt wouldn't say what injuries had occurred or how the accident took place he did confirm the victim was in terrible shape.

"He has horrific injuries," Mr Tutt said.

"There was some miscommunication with respect to people being clear for a truck to move off the grid and it led to the accident occurring."

While CBH hadn't finished its internal review, Worksafe had issued the bulk handler a draft notification.

Mr Tutt said while he hadn't officially seen the report yet it outlined CBH's need to enhance its communications while two people worked on the same grid.

"We have already got reasonable communications outlining the safe work procedure," Mr Tutt said.

"There has now been a heightened awareness in relation to the movement of trucks and where people are positioned.

"From a harvest perspective it's about everybody on site taking five, being aware of the dangers and making sure they implement safe work procedures when they are unloading vehicles or are near vehicles moving around the receival site."

Mr Tutt didn't confirm or deny whether the accident would seriously impact on the time truck drivers might spend at CBH bins during the upcoming harvest period or whether it would add to the strain caused by WA's bumper crop.

But he did say a safe working environment would only increase productivity at CBH receival sites throughout the State.

"If farmers, truck drivers and CBH work really hard on this together I don't think there will be any significant reduction in productivity at harvest," Mr Tutt said.

"Productivity doesn't occur without safety in the first place.

"But at the end of the day creating a safe environment needs to come before productivity."

Mr Tutt said the man involved in the accident hadn't yet been interviewed because of his serious condition and remained in hospital.

"We have to make sure his health is alright first before we even begin to go down that path and that may not occur this week either," he said.

"There are lessons to learn from this and if we all do that collectively hopefully we'll be able to work hard to stop this from happening again."

Mr Tutt also said the accident wouldn't lead to a clamping down on site rules and regulations like the controversial decision over who should open and close truck tailgates.

He said if a tailgate was designed so that it could be opened safely from the side of a truck and CBH staff didn't have to get into the "red zone" staff would effectively make a decision whether or not to open it.

Growers had also started to push CBH's safety culture on-farm which Mr Tutt said was really pleasing.

"It's bigger than CBH," he said.

"CBH has had great co-operation from growers over the last two or three years but we think this unfortunate incident will enhance the safety awareness of CBH employees and truck drivers."

CBH expected to have the results of Worksafe's official investigation sometime this week and the results of its own internal investigation in up to 10 days.

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