Excavator Fall from Rock Platform
A hydraulic excavator owned and operated by a contractor was working at the face in a Tarmac quarry. This machine was loading rock from the shot pile onto dumpers, it was standing on a rock platform approximately 3m high to enable it to load the dumpers correctly and to dress the
face as required.
The machine driver had started working at the site, for the contractor the day before the incident. He was fully inducted by the site assistant manager and during this process, it was identified that he was lacking in hard rock experience. This was brought to the attention of the Site Manager, who expressed concerns to the contractor’s management team.
The contractor carried out an assessment of the driver and gave the all the clear, unfortunately this was not completed satisfactorily. During the machine operators second day he was attempting to reach some rock at the bottom of the face left by a previous operator when he rolled off the edge of the rock platform, through 270º with the machine coming to rest as shown in the photograph. The driver escaped without injury.
ACCIDENT / INCIDENT IMAGES
LEARNING POINTS / ACTIONS TAKEN
Following the incident a full investigation was carried out with the following key actions undertaken:
1. A working party consisting of experienced machine operators, geotechnical specialists and Tarmac’s safety department formulated a “Tool Box Talk” for the operation of excavators on rock piles (see additional pdf document). The Tool Box Talk was rolled out across Tarmac and elements of it were included in the (UK) Quarry National Joint Advisory Committee guidance for rock platform construction. (Information Sheet 1 June 2009: Safe Face Management Operation in Quarries’). All relevant Tarmac employees and contractors receive the Tool Box Talk ‘Building a rock platform at the face’.
2. Tarmac now requires that any excavator driver used at the face in hard rock quarries is subject to the specific (UK) Mineral Products Qualification Council assessment for the machine being used at the face, before authorisation is issued.
3. At site level, the induction processes have been reviewed and amended to ensure that contractors are checked for their experience and competence.
4. A key contractor review process was established to drive improved interaction between the two parties. A standard agenda was formulated (see additional pdf document) and these are now carried out 6 monthly with key contractors across the region at a senior level. This process has driven increased client – contractor relations and allowed the sharing of best practice and early resolution of business issues. This process is now being developed to bring together key contractors who work alongside each other on site. This drives improved interaction and understanding which improves safety (e.g. Geotechnical specialist, Drill and Blast, and Load and Haul contractors)
We can and must all learn from this incident and ensure that machine drivers have an adequate induction process completed, together with the appropriate competency confirmed to undertake the required task. This means having the right qualifications, knowledge and experience for the task in hand. Evidence of a (UK) Mineral Products Qualification Council (EPIC) or Construction Plant Competence Scheme certificate for an item of equipment alone, is not sufficient to assume full competence for the task.
LEARNING POINTS / ACTIONS IMAGES
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