A focused approach to pump truck safety

Concrete pump trucks are part of WorkSafeBC’s Crane Inspection Initiative
Doug Younger
May 27, 2019
By Doug Younger
Employers, supervisors and workers all share a responsibility and play an essential role in the safe placement, operation and inspection of concrete pump trucks.

Concrete pump trucks are part of WorkSafeBC’s Crane Inspection Initiative, which sees prevention officers focusing on the pump trucks’ major inspectional requirements, safe set-up location, operation, and maintenance, to help prevent injuries from occurring.

The Crane Inspection initiative is one of 17 industry initiatives designed to align prevention efforts with specific industries that present a high risk of serious injury to workers. From 2013 to November 2018, WorkSafeBC accepted 104 time-loss claims, and there was one work-related death, in the concrete pumping industry.

Work sites with concrete pump trucks are often congested, with multiple pieces of complex equipment working simultaneously. In many cases, the soil has been disturbed or major excavations are underway.

There are a number of variables to consider in the evaluation of a safe pump truck set-up location:
  • Has the pump-truck set-up location been identified and evaluated for potential hazards?
  • Are there traffic control arrangements to allow the pump truck to arrive and set up at the workplace?
  • Have overhead power lines and underground utilities been located, identified and considered?
  • Can the machines outriggers be fully extended and set?
  • Is the pump truck being set up adjacent to an excavation, shot concrete wall or elevated structure?
  • Is there appropriate outrigger cribbing available at the workplace?
  • Are there overlapping equipment procedures and communication in place?
Failures related to the set-up location, poor ground conditions, insufficient cribbing or short-rigging outriggers on concrete pump trucks are a risk on worksites.

WorkSafeBC is working with all parties ― the prime contractor, sub-contractor, concrete-placing crew and concrete pump-truck owner/operator — to review what’s required to ensure a safe machine arrives on site and is correctly set up in a safe work environment.

Concrete pump trucks can flip over due to ground condition instability. The truck has to be level so the boom and slewing mechanism aren’t stressed. If the ground fails with the boom extended, the pump truck will roll over. The trucks can reach up to 70 metres, and the industry trend is towards larger trucks with farther reach, which further heightens the risk.

It’s imperative that owner/operators read the manufacturer’s instructions. The instructions confirm safe set-up and operating procedures for the machine, including maximum outrigger loading force, and identify the outrigger cribbing size that must be used for specific soil conditions.

Correct set-up and placement are both requirements under Part 20 Construction, Excavation and Demolition, of B.C.’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

WorkSafeBC officers who conduct inspections on pump trucks will also be confirming that annual inspectional requirements are met. The Regulation requires pump trucks be inspected in accordance with the CSA Z151-2009 Standard.

The Standard requires that pump trucks’ critical components, including structural, mechanical and control elements, be inspected annually. Employers are also asked to provide documentation confirming all critical machine components have been inspected and that a professional engineer has certified them as safe for use.

This information is covered in sections 20.26.3 and 20.47 of the Regulation.

WorkSafeBC works in collaboration with the industry association, ConcreteBC. Members of the association and WorkSafeBC organized four training and education events in 2017 and 2018. These events entailed the exchange of industry information and regulatory requirements, with the goal of helping to prevent future concrete pump-truck incidents from occurring.

Learn more at worksafebc.com. WorkSafeBC resources: Guidelines Part 20 – Concrete Pumping WorkSafeBC Bulletin.


Doug Younger is an occupational safety officer with WorkSafeBC.

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