Truck accidents on the rise - MinEx

Posted on 11 June 2018

New Zealand risks another vehicle-related fatality at a mine or quarry, MinEx warns.

The extractives industry health and safety council released last week at the NZ Minerals Forum in Queenstown its incident reporting for the first quarter of this year, and for the last nine months during which there had been 82 incidents involving “loss of control of vehicles”.

“We’ve had a spate of incidents, including trucks rolling over on their side, at all sorts of operations,” MinEx CEO Wayne Scott says. “Many of these incidents are a result of people using these vehicles in difficult environments.”

While articulated dump trucks are designed for challenging conditions, “if any truck is overloaded or is at excessive speed, it will not operate in the way it is designed. It does not take much to tip a truck over”.

“Guys think they can put as much material in the truck as the body can take; they tip them on less than level ground. I don’t think it’s a training issue. It’s more of a complacency issue.”

A MinEx safety alert last month reported a truck that narrowly avoided rolling over because a hoist broke, smashing the rear window of the cab. No one was hurt.

“The contractors were using a little tip truck; it was not the right type of truck for the material being carted. The material was damp and full of clay from repairs to a road,” Scott says.

On March 11 a Moxy rolled down a hill and into a bank at a quarry in Northland. The driver later died of his injuries. In October last year the driver of a truck and trailer died while unloading aggregate at a quarry in Tauranga.      

During Q1 of this year, collisions were 26 per cent of reported incidents, and falls, 22 per cent.

Over the last nine months, the figures for collisions were 26 percent, and falls, 24 per cent. 

Next steps

Scott said he is disappointed that incident rates are not improving. “We will be developing some hard-hitting flyers on the stuff around trucks.”

“Sites are relying too heavily on just sticking flags on utes, and using administrative controls. We may be extremely close to another fatality.”

Operators should be asking themselves why they are allowing light vehicles and heavy vehicles at the same time on the same roads, and why light vehicles need to be in the operating zones of heavy vehicles at sites, Scott said.

Instead of relying on drivers to watch their speed, trucks can be fitted with governors to prevent excessive speed, and cameras or on-board computers to monitor speeding on site.

Published Inside Resources 8 June 2018