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Petroleum and gas safety alert no. 42 | 28 August 2009 | Version 1

Crushing fatality - pipe racks load shift

What happened?

A 24-year-old man was struck and crushed by pipe racks which came off a truck that was being unloaded at a drill site. The rig worker did not survive his injuries.

Petroleum and Gas Inspectors are currently investigating the incident and will prepare a report for the coroner.

While the exact causes of the incident are still to be determined, this safety alert is a reminder to all operators, staff, their employees and contractors to take particular care when loading and unloading large heavy equipment from vehicles.

Safety issues identified

  • Load restraint bollards were only in place on one side of the truck.
  • It appears pipe rack groups were separately tied down (i.e. upper and lower layers separately restrained) but the upper layer was not removed before restraints were removed from lower layer of pipe racks.
  • People were standing in high risk area adjacent to vehicle.
  • There was a lack of risk assessment and use of standard operating procedures when unloading.


  • Restraint bollards to be used wherever practical for transport of pipe racks and other long loads.
  • Appropriate exclusion zones to be put in place when loading and unloading.
  • Loading and unloading procedures to include requirements for correct sequence of events and/or use of primary and secondary restraints.
  • Organizations to immediately review their:
    • detailed risk assessments
    • standard operating procedures (SOP)
    • job safety analyses (JSA)
    • training and supervision requirements to ensure that this type of task and associated risks are adequately covered.
  • Refer to Australian Load Restraint guide for transport.

Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available. The information in this publication is what is known at the time of writing.

We issue Safety Notices to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious incident, raise awareness of risks, and prompt assessment of your existing controls.

Attention: All workers and companies involved in the oil and gas industry.

Authorised by Chief Inspector, Petroleum and Gas

Contact: Chief Inspector, Petroleum and Gas

Issued by Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation