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Mines safety alert no. 342 | 05 June 2017 | Version 1

Loader reversed over light vehicle

What happened?

A loader was distributing stemming on a shot. A driller's assistant was giving directions to the loader operator using hand signals. After dropping the last of the stemming onto the shot, the loader operator reversed uphill off the shot to exit the area. While doing so, the rear of the loader collided with a dual cab utility parked nearby, crushing the bonnet and cabin. There were no occupants in the vehicle at the time.

How did it happen?

A risk assessment for the task had not been completed and as a result, the interactions between vehicles and people had not been considered or assessed. The loader operator and driller's offsider did not have radio contact and were unable to communicate effectively using hand signals as they couldn't see each other all of the time.

The area where the loader was operating was on sloping ground. While reversing uphill the operator's field of vision was restricted by the machine design and the operating environment.

Recommendations

Ensure you have effective controls in place to manage the risks associated with vehicle interactions (vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to infrastructure and vehicle to people) at your site. This should include:

  • Identifying what vehicle interactions take place at your operation.
  • Reviewing the recommendations from previous safety publications associated with vehicle interactions.
  • Applying the hierarchy of control when reviewing or establishing hazard and risk controls.
  • Verifying that the controls are implemented and effective.
  • Ensuring that personnel required to work near vehicles have effective methods of communicating in place.

Additionally, where personnel are required to enter an area while a vehicle is operating, the vehicle should be parked until the person leaves the area.

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.

Comments

Vehicle interactions are the second highest cause of serious accidents and high potential incidents in Queensland mineral mines and quarries. Vehicle interactions have resulted in several fatalities to date. The Mines Inspectorate has issued a number of Safety Alerts, Safety Bulletins and Significant Incident Reports related to vehicle incidents and interactions full of information and recommendations on identifying hazards and controlling risk, including:

  • Safety Alert #294 Fatality involving front end loader
  • Safety Alert #266 Managing hot-seat changeovers
  • Safety Alert #237 Rear dump truck drives over light vehicle
  • Safety Alert #232 Vehicle collisions - how long before it's really bad?
  • Safety Alert #212 Fatal crush injury on exploration site
  • Safety Alert #218 Fatal impact of light vehicle into rear of heavy vehicle
  • Safety Alert #206 Crushed between mobile equipment
  • Safety Alert #205 Heavy and light vehicle interaction
  • Safety Alert #204 Machinery operating zones
  • Safety Alert #179 Light vehicle / heavy vehicle interaction
  • Safety Bulletin #135 Pedestrian and light vehicle interaction with loaders at surface mines and quarries
  • Safety Bulletin #58 Audible alarms on mobile equipment
  • Significant Incident Report #38 Dozer runs over light vehicle

Authorised by Hermann Fasching - Deputy Chief Inspector of Mines

Contact: Lionel Smith, Regional Inspector of Mines, South Region , +61 7 3330 4250

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.