AMSJ » Light vehicle incidents continue to plague mines and quarries
MINING HAZARDS Vehicle Safety

Light vehicle incidents continue to plague mines and quarries

A light vehicle lost control at a mine in slippery conditions
Another light vehicle incident has shone a light on 'light vehicle' safety management.

A recent succession of light vehicle incidents has continued to plague the mining industry with several high potential light vehicle incident being recorded in one week.

While many take the use of a light vehicle on-site as an everyday issue, some seldom realise the consequences of inadequate controls for the use of light vehicles at mines.

Broadly the mining industry recognises the management of vehicle interactions are an on-going issue, the loss of control of light vehicles by operators has continued with often devastating consequences. Many of the incidents occurring have resulted from a variety of reasons including:

  • Driving too fast for the conditions;
  • Failure to apply the handbrake;
  • Lack of four-wheel driving experience in mine site or off-road conditions;
  • An inadequate knowledge of how to recover control of the vehicle;
  • Failure to engage four-wheel drive while driving in mining areas;
  • Incorrect tyre configurations on the vehicle.

This week a NSW surface coal mine recorded an incident where the light vehicle lost control of the vehicle in wet conditions. The light vehicle slid sideways into a bank and rolled onto its side. Fortunately, the driver was not injured in this event.

AMSJ previously reported that a dozer reversed over a light vehicle at a NSW coal mine.

According to information now available, the light vehicle was parked on a bench about 30 minutes before the incident occurred.

No-one was in the vehicle at the time of the incident. 

Light vehicle incident images

  • A light vehicle lost control at a mine in slippery conditions
  • A light vehicle rolled after the driver became distracted from sunshine
  • Vehicle rollaway
  • light vehicle open face incident

The Regulator highlighted that during the incident investigation, the inspector attending the mine identified “that pre-use checks were not being completed on light vehicles.”

He also noticed that “light vehicles were not parked in park-up areas, were not using flashing lights and light vehicles were not parked in a fundamentally stable condition.”

In another incident, a small loaded road truck left a weighbridge at a quarry. The truck had travelled about 300 metres when the driver reportedly suffered a medical episode causing him to lose control of the truck, which hit a tree.

The driver suffered a broken leg. The truck was owned and operated by a quarry customer.

Three weeks ago the NSW Resources Regulator released a report into a fatal light vehicle collision at the Snapper Mine. In the incident a contract worker driving a light vehicle entered a tip head area, to deliver a water bottle to a dozer operator about 4.45 pm on 12 August. The dozer operator was reversing and he was unaware the light vehicle was in close proximity. The two vehicles collided resulting in fatal injuries to the light vehicle driver.

The challenge now remains for mine management to assess the competence of personnel using light vehicles, review site road conditions and provide instruction on how to react to changes in conditions that may impact on their ability to operate equipment in a safe manner.

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