Industry Safety Bulletin, News

Unintended vehicle movement sparks safety warning

unintended vehicle movement, haul truck, truck, mine

The NSW Resources Regulator is calling for vigilance after two incidents involving unintended vehicle movement.

Both incidents occurred over just one week in April.

The first incident took place at an underground coal mine in NSW. Two operators were installing a section of steel pipe to a roof using a machine designed to carry and lift pipes for installation. The machine was connected to a vehicle.

Before commencing work, the miners positioned the vehicle to install the pipe ,then installed wheel chocks.

The operators left the door of the vehicle open and the vehicle in first gear. During the lift, there was a mechanical declutch failure and the vehicle unexpectedly rolled away about one metre.

The Regulator said of the incident that mine operators must ensure that equipment is maintained to appropriate standards and that a risk-management approach is taken to designing preventative maintenance strategies.

The Regulator also recommended that mine workers should not rely on safety interlocks (such as wheel chocks) for general isolation of equipment unless the interlock is specifically designed for such a purpose.

The second incident occurred at an underground metals mine. A truck operator let the vehicle idle down before shutting it off in neutral and engaging the park brake. There it sat for roughly 15 minutes on the production level of the mine. The driver then heard a creaking noise and the truck moved backwards a short distance.

In each of these cases, no one was injured. However, both incidents had the potential to cause serious harm, and demonstrate how crucial it is to properly maintain vehicles.

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