An excavator nearly toppled over the cliff at the Gap on Friday.
An excavator nearly toppled over the cliff at the Gap on Friday.

Excavator man has near-miss

AN excavator operator working at Cunningham’s Gap has had more than a close call when his machine nearly toppled off the edge of a cliff.

Main Roads yesterday released details of an incident which took place on Friday morning, just down from the top of the Gap where the worker was clearing vegetation.

A spokeswoman confirmed the excavator was working on the edge of the highway about 30 metres from the Gap when it toppled forwards, coming precariously close to careering down the sheer cliff.

“The operator of the excavator lowered the bucket to stabilise itself,” the spokeswoman said.

“The excavator was assisted by a heavy-lift tow truck and no one was injured in the incident.”

The spokeswoman said the worker was an employee of contractors Fulton Hogan, who have been engaged by Main Roads to perform earthworks and vegetation removal.

“The contractor is investigating the incident and has reviewed its current clearing practices,” she said.

“The area concerned is heavily treed and it would appear that the vegetation would have assisted in breaking any fall of the machine, had that occurred.”

The spokeswoman said the department was unaware if Fulton Hogan had informed Workplace Health and Safety Queensland of the near-miss but said the firm’s own safety staff investigated.

The incident comes as work continues on a $40 million project to repair damage from heavy summer rainfall at 11 sites along the highway, from the top of the Gap to the helipad.

Fulton Hogan is a trans-Tasman civil contracting company with more than 5000 employees.



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