A fully loaded dump truck lost control on a haul road with the truck’s front wheels going through a windrow. The windrow stopped the truck from going over a 10m drop-off to a small berm and a further 30m to the pit floor. The truck operator said he lost control while avoiding a kangaroo. The incident occurred at night with roadway conditions reported as good.
Recommendations to industry
Mines should ensure windrows are installed and are of sufficient height to arrest mobile plant if it becomes uncontrollable. Factors that may affect operator vision and/or ability to control a vehicle include:
• fog, sunlight, storms or dust
• slippery road conditions
• obstructions that affect lines of sight.
Mine operators should consider these Matters in their principal hazard management plans for roads and other vehicle operating areas, along with fit-for purpose barriers such as bunding and windrows to prevent vehicles going over embankments. Vehicle operators should be reminded to travel at speeds suitable for conditions.
The operator of a 75 tonne excavator requested an articulated water cart to wash down the front windscreen of his excavator. The water cart started the wash down. The excavator had its boom and stick in the air. The excavator operator lowered the bucket to assist the wash down, but in the process of lowering the bucket hit the cab of the articulated water cart.
Positive communication is essential. Mines should consider human and organisational factors when developing their principal hazard management plans for roads and other vehicle operating areas.
A heavy vehicle interaction near-miss was reported to the regulator. Two large mining haul trucks avoided a low speed collision at a T-intersection when the haul truck coming from the right failed to give away to the haul truck on the left (as per the site transport rules). The speed limit at the intersection is 20km/h and the haul trucks stopped without making contact (about 8m between them). The incident occurred at night, the weather conditions were fine and the intersection was not lit.
The incident highlights the importance of having an effective risk management program in relation to the interaction of light and heavy vehicles at surface mine sites. It is also a timely reminder to ensure that workers are adequately trained and that the requirements of the roads or other vehicle operating areas principal hazard management plan is followed. Mine should review the report and associated recommendations in Ravensworth open cut investigation report of a fatality that occurred in November 2013 – Heavy and light vehicle interaction.