Maules Creek heavy vehicle collision elicits safety improvements

Maules Creek. Image: Whitehaven Coal.

A heavy collision at the Maules Creek mine in the Gunnedah Basin last year has been blamed on unclear communication to crews about road changes.

In April 2018, a 100-tonne service truck at the Whitehaven Coal mine collided with a 500-tonne dump truck at a mine intersection, leaving one worker with serious injuries.

The NSW Resources Regulator investigated the incident and identified that the intersection ‘stop’ signs had been relocated the day before the incident.

This signage change had not been communicated to all workers.

“The investigation revealed that both truck drivers believed they had the right of way before the collision,” Orr said.

“The injured worker suffered back, shoulder and wrist injuries, which were serious enough for him to be transported by helicopter to hospital, where he received medical treatment.”

Image: NSW Resources Regulator


The haul truck driver, who understood he had right of way, entered the intersection when the service truck suddenly appeared at the last minute to his left.

The service truck driver, too, believed he had right of way as he was unaware of the change to the stop signs.

A Maules Creek mine supervisor has reportedly informed the drill and blast crew about the signage change at the intersection. He was, however, interrupted by a call upon intending to contact the maintenance crew.

Following the incident, Whitehaven Coal improved its pre-start presentation and implemented a process which requires an engineering review to be conduction when changes to intersections are proposed.

The Caterpillar 773D service truck was used to transport diesel and refuel mobile and fixed plant at Maules Creek, while the Hitachi EH 5000 haul truck was used to haul coal and overburden.

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