The Injured Party (IP) was attempting to hitch a single axle power washer water bowser onto a jeep towbar. The IP was standing by the rear tow bar while he attempted to adjust the jockey wheel as the jeep towbar was too low to allow the hitch to connect.
The IP loosened the jockey wheel securing lever and the jockey wheel assembly slid through the retaining collar causing the trailer to drop forward suddenly. A metal bar on the underside of the trailer frame struck the IP’s left foot.
The IP sustained two broken metatarsal bones in his foot which will take 4 to 6 weeks to heal.
The immediate cause of the incident was a sudden change in the centre of balance of the single axle water bowser when the lever was loosened, allowing the jockey wheel to slide through the retaining collar - this resulted in the trailer suddenly dropping. A single axle trailer relies on the jockey wheel for stability.
Contributory cause - although wellington safety boots were worn by the IP, the wellington boots did not also have metatarsal protection. Metatarsal boots would have protected the IP’s foot against this impact.
The root cause was insufficient planning – a dynamic risk assessment would have identified and addressed the risk of the trailer pitching forward.