Coal Age

JUN 2018

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June 2018 31 powered haulage continued of the van to look over the highwall and, after she got back in the van, he was likely concentrating on her safety and perhaps having a conversation with her about what she saw," Trainor said. "He was not likely thinking about his position with regard to the haul truck." In these types of situations, maybe we need a designated driver, Trainor suggest- ed. "It should probably be the grader op- erator or a water truck driver, somebody who is familiar with these large trucks," Trainor said. "One person could concen- trate on driving the vehicle while the other explains to people what they are seeing on the tour." Earlier in the year, a miner was fatally injured when his light-duty truck was run over by a haul truck. This incident hap- pened at night. This person was trying to make a personal call on his mobile device, Trainor explained. "The best reception was at the top of the mountain," Trainor said. "He parked in the dump area and turned off his lights because he didn't want peo- ple to know he was using his phone. Un- fortunately, the haul truck ran over him." In this case, a collision warning system may have recognized a parked vehicle. The haul truck operator, however, did nothing wrong and he definitely would have seen him if he had turned the headlights on. Examining the situation with the light ve- hicle, Trainor said, he had a family matter distracting him as well as the device usage. "He was talking to a family member when the accident happened," Trainor said. "These distractions had him thinking un- clearly on a couple of levels. Again, this is another distracted driver." The third example Trainor cited in- volved a wheel loader running over a small vehicle. The small vehicle driver went to pick up the wheel loader operator and truck drivers and bring them back to the office for lunch. He parked too close to the wheel loader, Trainor explained. The wheel loader backed over the passenger side of the truck. The driver was trapped in the car when a fire broke out and the vic- tim burned to death. Again, a collision avoidance system may have helped, but the operator was not found to be at fault. Looking at the sit- uation with the small vehicle driver, there were several variables, Trainor explained. The accident occurred on a Saturday and the wheel loader operator was not the usual operator. The driver may have made some assumptions about the operator's techniques. Another situation did not result in a fatality, but it did involve a distracted driver. In this case, however, it was the large vehicle instead of the small vehi- cle, Trainor said. "It was difficult to get a lot of answers because the operator quit and immediately left the site," Trainor said. According to the company, the haul truck operator had been warned after he had been found watching videos on his mobile phone. "Apparently, when the loader operator honked his horn to move forward, the truck driver was not paying attention, lurched forward and rolled over the vehicle that belonged to his boss," Trainor said. Trainor summarized the typical dis- tractions, including: • Device usage, whether talking, tex- ting, or browsing the internet; • Talking to vehicle passengers; • Eating or drinking; • CB communication; • Watching videos; and • Changing a radio station, CDs, MP3s or digital music device found. With CB communication systems, operators will change the channels for a private conversation and then forget to switch the system back to the proper channel. "Videos are becoming more of a problem," Trainor said. "While many mines do not have very good coverage, employees can download programs to their devices. Just because there is no cov- erage, you can't assume the miners are not using their devices. Maybe it's time to re- mind operators that they need to put the phones away when they are working." Several participants mentioned ways to deal with blind spots or make small ve- hicles more visible, such as flashing lights, flags, making eye contact with the driver, as well as clearly communicating with the driver of the haul truck through hand sig- nals or the radio. One inspector, who had previously operated haul trucks, said ev- ery time the mine had a new person driv- ing a small vehicle on the site, they would put them in the cab of the haul truck and show them the blind spots. They would then have a feel for the blind spots. The driver of this water truck was ejected and then the truck rolled over him.

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