Whether working on a construction or mine site, safety is essential, even more so when operating and working around haul trucks. Like most industrial equipment, haul trucks require specialists to operate them to guarantee safety. There are basic safety procedures that every site should already have in place, such as personal protective equipment and visible signs, but below, we outline more specific measures to take when operating around large machinery.
As haul trucks are such substantial, powerful vehicles, they require specialised operating skills to ensure they are carefully managed. Ensuring not just drivers, but employees working in and around these vehicles are properly trained. This includes safety training and making sure there is equipment such as first-aid kits and fire extinguishers to hand. Work zones pose a hazard, so ensuring each employee knows the hazard signs thoroughly can help eliminate potential problems on-site.
Loading and Unloading
Loading or unloading a haul truck is when most accidents occur due to the nature of the process. This can be due to uneven ground or when the load is being delivered into a pit. Even ground can be argued as one of the most crucial safety protocols when transferring materials. When the bed of the truck is lifted it becomes less stable which creates a higher chance of the truck tipping over. Before un/loading, certify that the surface is firmly packed and check the stability of the ground to ensure no accidents occur.
Another key component when transporting materials is that the load is distributed evenly. This will help the truck to stay stable which maintains steady transportation. It is also crucial to pay attention to the truck's weight capacity to prevent rolling and disasters.
When unloading the truck, it is essential to ensure the area is clear. Whether this is guaranteeing workers are not nearby or any equipment or wires are out of the way, this minimises the possibility of any damage or accidents. It is also advised that the bed of the haul truck has a liner so that when being deposited, the load flows evenly and steadily. It also prevents any materials from getting stuck and creating an imbalance.
It is vital for regular checks on the vehicles to be done to ensure it is operating precisely. This can even mean daily checks looking for possible damages or issues. Daily maintenance should include things such as the suspension and lift cylinders, bolts and pins being properly lubricated, and tyre pressure. Something as little as low tyre pressure can cause the track to tip when being loaded, so it is necessary to check them before each use of the truck. This also includes inspecting the tyres for wear and tear.
Maintenance is also dependent on the weather conditions. In winter more precautions are put in place, as if a load is wet, it can then freeze and stick to the bed of the truck, causing the truck to roll over. In cold weather, it is advised to use antifreeze to prevent these materials from freezing and sticking.
Also, don’t deprive the truck of regular cleaning, it is not just the mechanics of the truck that need to have regular inspections. The exterior needs regular cleaning, such as the windshield, to ensure the dirt and debris it will accumulate when moving, does not obstruct the driver’s vision. Keeping the engine clean is also vital to ensure it is clear of grease and excess oil which increases the risk of a fire.
Driving a dump truck needs vigorous training and driving a fully loaded truck in a mine is a meticulous task so needs extreme focus. Drivers need to be aware that due to the loads, the vehicle is substantially heavier, therefore maintaining focus is necessary to manage the vehicles safely.
When on roads, it is crucial especially for haul trucks to slow down when approaching bends and allow for a wide approach to make the curve safely. Even for a truck, the speed limit may be too fast so keeping the vehicle under control is vital for no accidents to occur.
When reversing a truck, it is advised to reverse no quicker than a person walking on foot. Also, having the help of another person increases the unlikelihood of any accidents occurring. This can help to alert you to any obstacles in your blind spots.
It is important to be fully aware of the capabilities of the truck. Whether this is weight or height, especially driving in an underground mine with height and weight restrictions in place. Being vigilant and paying attention to surroundings can mean no abrupt halts and the ability to adapt to road conditions.
It is not just about taking care of driving the truck but also important for the driver to take care of their physical health. Ensuring they are well rested before driving is crucial as this can affect their attentiveness.
Guaranteeing safety precautions are in place when operating with a dump truck is essential to the welfare of workers and ensuring these tips are followed can allow for operations to run smoothly.