Newspapers regularly report of home mechanics being trapped or killed while working under their cars and the jack slips. This type of event is less likely in workplaces because workshops have hoists or pits where work can be undertaken under a fairly stable vehicle. However not all vehicle repair happens in a workshop.
On 26 January 2010 a judge in the Old Bailey in England fined a vehicle maintenance company, Aviance UK Ltd, £90,000 over the death of Mohammed Taj in March 2008 after being crushed under a baggage tug at Heathrow Airport.
According to a media release by the Health & Safety Executive
“… Mohammed Taj, 52, from Hayes, a vehicle maintenance specialist was repairing a defective vehicle used to pull baggage trolleys, also known as a baggage tug, which had broken down near Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 1.
The vehicle was raised 60cm in the air on a single trolley jack as its only means of support. The worker was underneath the tug when the trolley jack moved backwards, dropping the tug onto him. He died at the scene shortly afterwards from head injuries.
The HSE investigation showed that the maintenance van supplied by Aviance UK routinely carried a trolley-jack but never carried axle stands or other means of support which should be used.”
According to a 2009 media report the company has expressed regret over Taj’s death following what they described as a “technical and administrative breach of HSE regulations”.
Information from the HSE and WorkSafe Victoria about working under vehicles is available below.