Overburden dumps causing increased collisions

overburden dumps

The NSW Resources Regulator has released safety advice for the state’s mining industry following significantly increased collisions involving rear dump trucks and dozers.

The regulator identified a significant increase in incidents involving rear dump trucks and dozers on waste dumps between November 2021 and April 2022.

Common themes identified by the regulator:

  • A lack of positive communication: A major contributing factor in nearly all incidents was a lack of clear and positive communication between the haul truck and dozer operators.
  • A lack of situational awareness: Operators were not continuously aware of changing situations on dumps. This includes being unaware of the entry of trucks into the dumps area and truck operators being unaware of a changing tip location and the location of the dozer.
  • Time pressures and competency of workers : With an increase of new workers entering the industry, operators with limited experience in changing and challenging conditions have reported feeling pressured and not always competent to complete certain tasks, with a fear of speaking up to their supervisors.

The investigation of the incidents showed the increased collisions could have been avoided if truck and dozer operators maintained awareness of the changing circumstances of their work environment, as well as and clear and direct communications.

The regulator noted that while positive communication is a common control across the industry, the increased collisions indicate these controls are failing in their execution.

“Positive communication practices need constant vigilance and ongoing monitoring,” the regulator said.

“Senior leadership and direct supervisors must put in place measures to ensure the effectiveness of positive communication is monitored and enforced when required. Workers should always comply with positive communication controls and report when standards are not being achieved.

“All workers from senior site leadership to operators are reminded of the importance of maintaining situational awareness when operating mobile plant. Relevant training and awareness should be provided to workers who are expected to operate mobile equipment in close proximity.”