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Coal Inspectorate | Alert | No.394 V 1 | 22 July 2021

Coal Mine Worker trapped by moving vehicle

What happened?

A Coal Mine Worker (CMW) was injured when struck by a moving light vehicle at a coal mine.

How did it happen?

The CMW was between the stationary light vehicle and pallet racking in a workshop when a work colleague was undertaking the prestart checks on the vehicle. The CMW started the engine of the light vehicle while standing beside the driver’s door.

The vehicle transmission was in reverse when the engine was started.

When the engine started, the light vehicle moved backwards, trapping the CMW between the pallet racking and the vehicle tray, causing injuries to the CMW.

The vehicle tow bar hit an upright on the pallet racking and one corner of the cargo tray slid onto an adjacent shelf.  This combination stopped the rearward motion of the vehicle, preventing the injury becoming even more severe than that which occurred to the CMW.

Key issues

  • The vehicle engine was started before ensuring the transmission was in neutral and that personnel were clear of the vehicle.
  • The operator was not in the driver's seat when the vehicle engine was started. 


All Site Senior Executives should:

  • Ensure all vehicle drivers are trained and competent in the operation of vehicles at the mine.
  • Communicate this safety alert to all CMWs.

All CMWs should:

  • Take 5 before starting a vehicle.
  • When undertaking prestart checks ensure the vehicle is fundamentally stable using wheel chocks or other methods.
  • Ensure vehicles are in neutral prior to starting the vehicle and that you are sitting in the driver's seat prior to starting the vehicle.
  • Ensure that all persons are clear of the vehicle prior to starting the engine, by walking around the vehicle. 

Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available. The information in this publication is what is known at the time of writing.

We issue Safety Notices to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious incident, raise awareness of risks, and prompt assessment of your existing controls.

Authorised by Peter Newman - Chief Inspector – Coal

Contact: Stephen Smith, Regional Inspector of Mines , +61 7 4999 8510

Issued by Resources Safety & Health Queensland

Safety: This information is a guide only and is issued to promote safety through experience. It is not to be taken as a statement of law and must not be construed to waive or modify any legal obligation.
Placement: Place this announcement on noticeboards and ensure all relevant people in your organisation receive a copy.