Log truck should not have been loaded, with workplace accident leading to judo champion’s death

A coroner has warned of the dangers of jacking fully-laden trucks after the tragic workplace-related death of a Tasmanian judo champion.

The death of a Tasmanian judo champion has been linked to a dangerous workplace practice at a truck transport company.

In 2008, Shane Anthony Masters suffered a severe brain injury while working for the now-deregistered Aprin Transport at Brighton.

Mr Masters and other workers had been repairing airbags on a fully laden log truck, using a jack to lift the trailer.

In her newly-published findings, Coroner Olivia McTaggart said the jack became dislodged and struck another employee, who in turn fell and hit Mr Masters, who fell into the concrete side of a workshop service pit.

Ms McTaggart said Mr Masters was no longer able to work after the accident, suffering serious seizures until his death some 12 years later – in February last year.

“At the time of undertaking the work on the truck, the trailer was fully loaded with logs, a practice that was not uncommon for Aprin but that was unsafe due to the vastly increased weight of the trailer if it was required to be raised,” Ms McTaggart said.

One of the workers said one of the airbags slipped from its springs and “shot out”, with the jack also being dislodged.

Both items hit him and he fell back into Mr Masters, who fell also and suffered a serious brain injury.

Mr Masters – who had been a champion in judo before his accident – spent 13 days in intensive care and six months in hospital, learning to walk and talk again.

Ms McTaggart said even though the company had been deregistered, it was appropriate to comment on the workplace safety issues.

“I particularly emphasise that the trailer should have been unloaded before the work began,” she said.

“Jacking a loaded trailer is a dangerous practice and should never occur in a controlled work environment.”

She said Aprin had not complied with its statutory duties under the regulations at the time of the incident – and that if it had done so, the injury to Mr Masters may have been avoided.

Source: The Mercury

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