Truck deaths cannot continue, Inspectorate

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate called for an immediate end to the 'state-wide mining issue' of inadequate truck braking.

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate called for an immediate end to the “state-wide mining issue” of inadequate truck braking.

There have been two fatal accidents and numerous other serious injuries as a result of inadequate braking in Queensland in the last two years.

“This situation cannot be allowed to continue,” the Inspectorate said.

“The risk to the truck driver and those who may be struck by uncontrolled truck movements is not being controlled to an acceptable level.”

According to the Government body, the problem has arisen with the increasing use of heavy on-highway trucks in off-highway conditions at minesites.

These lesser payload vehicles are typically the carrier of choice for many contractors and are therefore finding more work as mines contract out parts of their operation.

“Most of the reported incidents involve contractors’ trucks, including water trucks and service trucks fitted with liquid carrying tanks,” the Inspectorate said.

“Contractors are part of the mine workforce and their equipment is part of the mine equipment.

“They are as much a part of the mine’s Safety and Health Management System as the rest of the workforce.”

The Inspectorate said that previous investigations have shown most accidents have been the result of disconnected, out of adjustment, heavily contaminated or seized brakes.

The on-highway truck brakes are often not adequate for continuous operation in the hostile environment of a minesite.

Most mining dusts are very abrasive and cause rapid wear, while bull dust contaminates the brake shoe surfaces and enters and clogs the brake chambers.

Many types of dust are also acidic, so the corrosive atmosphere creates rust, destroys brake surfaces and seizes linkages.

Additionally, many on-highway trucks regularly operate on steeper grades at mines than they would in normal conditions, the Inspectorate said.

The brakes must be adequate for the grade, load and speed. According to the body, all mine personnel are required to take all necessary steps to ensure that no-one is exposed to unacceptable risks.

On-highway vehicles used on minesites require an increased maintenance regime to combat accelerated deterioration rates.

Brake components need to inspected and tested by the operator prior to use and routine dynamic brake testing must be carried out.

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