Mineral Mines & Quarries Inspectorate | Alert | No.416 V 1 | 15 September 2022
Pedestrian suffers serious crush injury from reversing mobile plant
A fuel truck driver received serious injuries which required hospitalisation after being crushed between the rear of a front-end wheel loader and the rear of a stationary fuel truck.
How did it happen?
The incident is under investigation; however, the preliminary findings are:
- The driver parked the fuel truck close to the crushing plant and was fuelling plant in that area.
- Part of the fuelling task required the worker to be at the rear of the fuel truck.
- While at the rear of the fuel truck, the worker was crushed between the rear of the front-end loader and the rear of the fuel truck (see figure one below).
Diesel powered crushing and screening plant was operating in the quarry pit nearby. When operating, this plant is noisy.
There have been numerous accidents at mines and quarries where pedestrian interaction with operating vehicles has resulted in serious injury or death to the pedestrian. In many of these accidents, the critical controls necessary to prevent a vehicle from striking a pedestrian were absent or ineffective.
In the case of this accident:
- An exclusion zone had not been defined to account for other plant operating in close proximity to the fuel truck.
- The noise of the operating crushing plant may have disguised the noise of vehicles operating in the near vicinity.
- Vehicles that could have been fuelled at a purpose-built fuelling facility were being fuelled in the operational area.
Site Senior Executives (SSEs) should review their onsite activities to identify situations where interactions between pedestrians and operating vehicles take place and determine what controls - including critical controls – are, or should be, in place to prevent pedestrian incidents. Once identified, these controls must be implemented and monitored to ensure they are operational and effective.
When reviewing or considering the necessary controls, the hierarchy of controls must be applied. For example:
Separation – Establish exclusion zones so that pedestrians and operating vehicles are physically separated. The exclusion zone must be clearly defined and prevent operating vehicles from entering into the exclusion zone. (e.g., suitable bund). Stop all vehicles if pedestrian access is necessary. Only allow vehicles to recommence operating when the pedestrian has left the area.
Substitution – Replace in-field fuelling of vehicles with use of purpose-built refuelling stations.
Engineering – Utilise collision avoidance/proximity detection technology to assist vehicle operators to avoid vehicle collision incidents.
Engineering – Initial mine design and layout decisions will create the operational environment for all plant and people working within it and should include effective collision prevention controls.
Isolation – Vehicles should be properly immobilised and isolated before being cleaned, worked on, or fuelled. (i.e., positioned on level ground, isolated, handbrake engaged and wheel chocks in place).
Administrative – Develop and implement a traffic management plan (TMP) that documents effective controls that manage the risks of vehicle interactions. Workers must be trained, assessed and monitored to ensure they understand and implement the control measures.
A critical control is defined as a control that if removed or not executed exactly as intended, would cause an unsafe situation despite the existence of the other controls.
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.
References and further information
Guidance- Collision Prevention:
Guidance Note QGN 27 Collision prevention (Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999)
Contact: Jon Smith, Inspector of Mines , +61 7 3330 4251 QldMinesInspectorate@rshq.qld.gov.au
Issued by Resources Safety & Health Queensland
Placement: Place this announcement on noticeboards and ensure all relevant people in your organisation receive a copy, understand the content, findings and recommendations as applicable to their operation. SSEs should validate that recommendations have been implemented.