Dozer driver in narrow escape from flying basalt

A tyre blow-out at a Queensland open cut coal mine caused a lump of basalt to penetrate the cabin of a nearby dozer, narrowly missing its operator.

According to an Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) report, a Cat 795F rear dump truck was being loaded by a rope shovel when a basalt rock approximately 400mm in diameter fell on the offside and rolled beneath the truck unnoticed.

Once loaded, the truck drove forward over the rock causing one of its tyres to burst.

This caused numerous pieces of basalt rock shrapnel to eject from the floor, with one rock weighing 950 grams striking a manned Cat D10T dozer parked 40.5 metres away.

This rock penetrated the dozer cabin’s right-side window before passing through the cabin and exiting by shattering and pushing out the rear window.

The dozer’s operator stated that he was leaning forward in the dozer’s seat at the time of the impact and the dozer was waiting to conduct floor clean-up and had Impact Rated XIR Glass fitted.

The tyre that exploded tyre was 512 hours old and had been inspected earlier in the day as part of preventative tyre maintenance.

No issues with the tyre were identified.

According to the report, RSHQ made a number of recommendations including that companies identify restricted work areas near excavation faces, designate safe parking areas for equipment near excavated faces and ensure effective risk management for excavation of high strength material.

It also recommended that site operators ensure loading techniques minimise spillage and that companies review mining equipment to ensure Impact Rated Glass is fitted where required.

Investigations into the incident are ongoing.

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