WorkCover NSW issues safety alert on cheater bars

WorkCover NSW has issued a Safety Alert and strongly recommends that cheater bars (extension bars) may not be used on over-centre load binders, or “dogs” as they are commonly known, when securing loads on vehicles.

WorkCover acknowledged in the Alert that using cheater bars on dogs is a widely accepted practice when securing loads but pointed out that it is a dangerous practice and has resulted in numerous serious injuries.

WorkCover listed a number of contributing factors, the main one being that using a cheater bar to tension a dog creates a risk of the bar flicking up and hitting the worker when the tension is released. There is also a risk for other people in close proximity who are in danger of being hit if the worker loses control of the bar.

Also, the tension on the dog varies according to the length of the bar used.

WorkCover went on to outline the action required and stated that when binders are used for securing loads the risks must be eliminated or controlled. Central to this is not using cheater bars on dogs. Possible solutions included the consideration of using something other than an over-centre load binder, such as ratchet straps or turnbuckle binders to secure the load.

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