Underground vehicle crash attributed to driver error

A safety alert has been issued in relation to a light vehicle incident which occurred at an underground mine in NSW.

The NSW Department of Resources and Energy issued the alert, which detailed an incident in which the driver of a light vehicle lost control while travelling down a decline, and collided with an underground mine wall.

The report showed the driver intentionally turned the vehicle to collide with the wall in order to bring it to a halt, after losing control of brakes and the manual transmission.

No one was injured in the incident, which involved the driver and two passengers in a single cab tray-back utility.

NSW Mines Safety investigators found there was no mechanical fault with the vehicle, rather that the driver had inadvertently knocked the 4WD transfer case lever into neutral.

Further contributing to the incident, investigators found that the driver had been pumping the clutch rather than the brake pedal, causing him to believe the brakes had failed.

The department recommended that a risk assessment should be conducted in order to determine the safe number of passengers that can be safely carried in the cabin of a vehicle.

Despite the absence of significant injury, the department also warned that suitable seat belts must be available for all passengers, such that passengers are afforded the same level of protection as used by the driver.

In this case, the centre passenger was wearing a lap-sash style seat belt.

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