Safe Parking Procedures Save Lives

A civil engineering technician with 35 years experience was killed when he was pinned to the ground by his vehicle. It had rolled down a 4% slope from a parking spot at the edge of an excavation where he was working.

The worker was setting up to test H-piles to ensure they were driven to a solid foundation below the riverbed. The worker’s vehicle was parked perpendicular to the slope. Portable testing tools were located in the back of the vehicle. To provide an energy supply for this equipment, the car’s hood was open and the charger was connected to its battery. Two witnesses saw the worker leave the vehicle and descend the embankment. Upon hearing a noise, they turned and saw the worker roll under the rear bumper of the vehicle. An investigation revealed the park brake was functional but had not been engaged.

Employers must advise employees of hazards associated with their job [Paragraph 9(2)(b) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act], and, under section 12 of the Act, must ensure safe conduct. Operators are required to park on level ground and set the brake when leaving the vehicle unattended [Subsection 230.4(2) of General Regulation 91-191].

Recommended preventive action

  • Know the features and how to safely operate the vehicle.
  • Be attentive when operating the vehicle.
  • Perform regular pre-use inspections.
  • Report hazards immediately and ensure required maintenance.

When parking, always:

  • Position the vehicle parallel to the edge of the ditch, depression, or slope.
  • Set the hand or park brake before leaving the vehicle.
  • Turn off the vehicle, whenever possible.
  • If it must remain running, chock the wheels to prevent any movement.
  • Set up safety cones to mark the work area.

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