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Mines safety alert no. 295 | 16 October 2012 | Version 1

Heavy rigid truck runaways on the increase

What happened?

Four heavy rigid truck runaways were reported between April to September 2012. The incidents—three at surface mines and one on the surface of an underground operation—involved three heavy rigid service trucks and one heavy rigid concrete agitator truck.

Fortunately there were no injuries but the potential consequence of an unplanned movement of a truck or the failure to stop a vehicle or plant could have been a fatality or serious injury.

How did it happen?

Causal factors in the four incidents included, singly or in combination:

  • poorly maintained brake systems
  • inadequate operator training on proper gear selection for grade
  • inadequate operator training on type and operation of ancillary braking systems such as retarders or engine/exhaust brake on differing makes and models
  • operator complacency.

Many times during a shift, trucks operate on steeper grades than in normal on-highway use. Brakes must be adequate for the grade, load and speed, particularly if hauling downgrade while loaded.

The Mines Inspectorate has released Mines Safety Bulletin 90, Mines Safety Bulletin 101, Mines Safety Alert 192 and Mines Safety Alert 212 relating to this issue.


  1. Consult the manufacturers' data on brake specification to ensure safe operation.
  2. When reviewing a safety and health management system take into account the recommendations of the safety alerts and bulletins listed above, as well as those from other jurisdictions.
  3. Ensure heavy rigid vehicle operators' training and assessment covers at least:
    • proper gear selection for grade
    • safety critical aspects of operation, including emergency braking systems, retarders and other controls specific to the vehicle being operated ensuring these have appropriate input from competent maintenance personnel.
  4. Conduct dynamic brake testing for heavy rigid type vehicles at least quarterly.
  5. Dynamic brake tests should incorporate a thorough inspection and adjustment of the brake system and components, including ancillary systems such as retarders or engine/exhaust brakes.
  6. Remember contractors' equipment operating and brake maintenance practices are no less important than the practices adopted by the mine site.
  7. Contractors' equipment must not operate onsite before maintenance and test records are checked to verify brake systems' integrity.
  8. Regularly audit brake maintenance processes for contractors' equipment regularly.

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 Chris Skelding - Manager Safety and Health - Central

Contact: Bruce McKinnon, Inspector of Mines , +61 7 4967 0866

Issued by Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines

Placement: Place this announcement on noticeboards and ensure all relevant people in your organisation receive a copy.