Mining vehicle collisions on the rise
A rise in the number of vehicle collisions at underground metalliferous mines has been reported by the NSW Resources Regulator.
These incidents occurred under varying circumstances, but in each case the occupants of the vehicle were put at risk of serious injury.
In one instance, a contractor’s light vehicle was descending a decline when it hit the wall with enough force to deploy the airbags. A steering failure was identified during the post-incident inspection, despite the fact that the vehicle had recently been serviced earlier that same day.
In a separate incident, a collision occurred between a light vehicle and an underground haul truck. As the haul truck was leaving a stockpile, the tray hit a wall. The operator reversed the haul truck to move away from the wall, during which time a light vehicle was on the blind side of the haul truck. The light vehicle driver assumed that the truck was reversing to enable them to pass, and as a consequence it hit the passenger side of the light vehicle. Fortunately no workers were injured.
During a third incident, a light vehicle hit a wall when descending a decline. The driver and passenger escaped injury, but the vehicle was severely damaged. A subsequent investigation found that wet road conditions, excessive speed, and a faulty speed limiter and speedometer were all contributing factors to the collision.
In another instance, a haul truck descending a decline hit a rigid truck and pushed it two metres into a decline wall.
The NSW Resources Regulator said multiple factors were at play across all these incidents. It found that communications requirements were not followed due to high radio traffic, while poor quality of maintenance activities affected safety-critical systems. In addition, operators failed to drive to conditions, and defects to vehicles were identified but not communicated, or were not repaired.
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