Following a fatality involving a road roller, the South Australian Coroner has recommended a national strategy to improve design of “inherently unsafe” mobile equipment.
Whilst the issues of the particular incident are many and varied, essentially a road roller reversed over a worker when the operator got confused about direction of the controls and “stabbed” at a non-existent foot brake instead of lifting his foot off the “dead man’s” control.
We all know how important it is for our motor vehicle foot pedals to be in exactly the same location and order, so we can correctly apply them in an emergency. This becomes more difficult when the operators have to frequently twist around and remember where all the controls are and the correct direction to operate them.
This issue could have application on some forklifts or other common workplace equipment. The Coroner concluded “I simply cannot accept the present unsatisfactory state of affairs where a driver has to spend half his day reversing a vehicle and twisting to look over his shoulder to do so ...”.
Let’s hope designers and manufacturers eventually introduce mobile plant with swivel seating and controls to avoid these types of unfortunate incidents.