Prevent Powered Haulage Accidents: Traffic Management and Roadway Design
This month’s CORESafety E-Comm focuses on Traffic Management and Roadway Design as integral components in preventing powered haulage accidents.
When it comes to safely operating powered haulage equipment and other vehicles, traffic management is an essential part of assuring safe conditions. Always remember this:
- When placing signs, consider the time it takes for an equipment operator to see, read and react to a sign, as well as braking and stopping distances of each type of equipment in operation at the mine site.
- Size, height, lateral placement and lighting are important factors in determining whether signs are visible to the equipment operator.
- Too many signs at one location may cause confusion and lead to accidents.
- Signs should be in the language understood by miners and equipment operators.
Be aware of signs that are:
- Placed too close to a hazard and do not provide sufficient time for equipment operators to react and stop their equipment;
- Outdated or posted for a condition that no longer exists;
- Unclear with respect to right-of-way rules and control;
- Inaccurate regarding berms, grade or steep sections of the roadway; and
Placed in locations where they are frequently covered by mud or other debris from traffic in the area.
ROADWAY DESIGN AND MAINTENANCE Well-designed and maintained haul roads are essential to minimizing on-road hazards. These types of haul roads can help trucks and haul equipment run safely and more efficiently.
When designing a roadway, consider:
- The widest equipment used at the mine. A basic rule of roadway design is that each lane of travel should provide clearance on both sides equal to one-half the width of the widest vehicle using the roadway, plus additional width around curves.
- Grades of a road. The grade of a roadway can have a significant effect on the equipment operator’s ability to control a vehicle. The grade should be compatible with the braking capabilities of the equipment. Maintain all roadways as level as possible.
- Use proper material to prepare and maintain the haul road. Use material that can adequately support the weight of equipment traffic. The materials that make up the road surface and road base should provide adequate traction and support, under a variety of weather conditions, to avoid excessive rutting. Rutting of a soft road can create a safety hazard by affecting the equipment operator’s ability to control the vehicle.
- Maintain and Repair Roads. Maintain and repair roads so that they do not develop bumps, ruts or potholes that may make it difficult to control or stop the vehicle.
- Use berms and guardrails along the outer edges of elevated roads. Roadside berms and guardrails provide equipment operators a visual indication of the outer edge of a roadway, and deflect equipment back onto the roadway.
OTHER BEST PRACTICES INCLUDE:
- Establish and follow the site traffic plan that identifies traffic routes and traffic flow, access points, parking areas and other traffic control areas.
- Communicate the traffic plan to all site employees, contractors and visitors.
- Update the traffic plan to reflect changing conditions at the mine.
- Know mine traffic patterns and stay on your side of the road.
- Operate mobile equipment at speeds consistent with conditions of roadways, grades, visibility, curves, weather and traffic.
- Avoid driving in reverse whenever possible.
- Avoid parking in load and dump zones.
- Establish safe zones around large equipment, and park only in established safe zones.
- Train miners and other pedestrians on mobile traffic patterns and policies.
Please join CORESafety and MSHA in getting the word out about these powered haulage dangers and pay special attention to keeping all workers safe.
- MSHA – Powered Haulage Equipment Safety Guidance – Click here
- CORESafety Module #4 – Fatality Prevention / Risk Management – click here.
- CORESafety TV (July 2020) – Best Practices to Avoid Powered Haulage Accidents – go here.
- CORESafety Infographic – Powered Haulage Safety – click here.
- CORESafety Website – go here.
- On February 16, 2022