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36Excavation Edge Protection

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Brief Description of Incident/Accident & Description of Consequences/Outcomes:

Your urgent attention is drawn to the dramatic increase in the number of High Potential Incidents involving equipment, machinery and people driving or falling into excavations.

Specifically, within the last few weeks, there have been incidents where: -

1. a dragline's attending electric cable truck reversed over the edge of the earth bridge it was working on and rolled/fell 15 metres before coming to rest - the electric cable wrapped around the truck chassis acting as a brake.

2. an excavator fell sideways off a 2.5 metre bench and came to a rest on its side with the cab facing downwards

3. a 789 Caterpillar rear dump truck drove through a protective rill on a haul road onto the bench below - fortunately only a 2 metre drop

4. a 785 Caterpillar rear dump truck reversed over a safety berm and slid 13 metres to the pit below where it rolled over 360 degrees

5. another rear dump truck reversed through the safety berm at a pre-strip dump point, coming to rest in the soft ground at the edge

6. a 16G Caterpillar grader partially backed over an excavated face whilst in the process of establishing the safety berm in front of the excavation

7. a mine employee slipped over the edge of an excavation and rolled/fell about 14 metres down the backfill slope, and 8. in November last year, the operator of a Caterpillar 988F front-end loader reversed over a highwall while "backblading" along its edge and fell 22 metres before hitting the bench below where it rolled at least twice, fell another 8 metres and came to rest on its cab.

As is evident, these incidents involve different types of equipment performing different tasks at different locations - yet all had significant potential for fatal consequences.

Root & Contributing Cause(s):

LTA awareness

LTA bunding

LTA design

LTA hazard identification

LTA vehicle proximity

LTA work method

Stated or Potential Consequence(s):

Potential Fatality

Preventative/Recommended/Accepted Steps of Risk Mitigation, Points of Interest:

ALL operators are hereby urged as a matter of utmost priority, to review the edge protection systems in place at their sites. This review must include a comprehensive study of the adequacy of current design and construction methods used for safety berms and rills, as well as the effectiveness of the Standard Operation Procedures in place for ALL activities conducted in proximity to the edge of excavations - whether they be mere observation decks, inspection/view points or major dump locations. Additionally, the review is to include the training and familiarisations given to operators, visitors and mineworkers required to be in the proximity of excavations and a study of the suitability and locations used for infrastructure support - particularly lighting plants and their impacts on visibility from glare and line-of-sight visibility.

EMESRT Risk(s):

Blind spots to operator

Mirrors distort driver's vision

Collision detection technology

Well designed cabs

ISOLgate Checklist(s):

Download Blind spots to operator Checklist.

Download Mirrors distort driver's vision Checklist.

Download Collision detection technology Checklist.

Download Well designed cabs Checklist.


Queensland Government Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI)


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