Light Vehicle Roads on Mining Sites: Safety Concerns and Dust Problems

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The Date: May 1997. 

The Place: Blackwater, QLD.

The Location: The Blackwater Mine Haul Road

The Incident: A water truck was operating on the haul road. Unbeknown to the truck driver, a light vehicle (4WD) was approaching from behind.

As he neared an intersection, the water truck driver indicated to turn right. The LV driver, thinking that he was being signalled that it was OK to pass, did so…with fatal consequences.

This true story graphically demonstrates why purpose-built Light Vehicle Roads are crucial in reducing light and heavy vehicle interaction.

Free Download: Dust Control Comparison Guide for Mine Roads eBook

Everyone operating a vehicle or equipment on a mine site has obligations under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999, Section 39, or the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 to establish and adhere to a “Standard Operating Procedure”.

To this end, more and more mining companies are introducing Fatal Risk Control Protocols (FRCP) and in particular protocols concerning light vehicle journey management.

The ultimate FRCP is traffic segregation to separate light vehicles from other mobile equipment by creating a network of dedicated light vehicle roads (also called LVRs, access roads, access tracks and service roads).

This will certainly solve the problem of light vehicles interacting with giant mining trucks on haul roads, however it does create its own set of problems.

Firstly, for convenience Light Vehicle Roads and access tracks are often designed to go around the perimeter of the haul roads and the boundaries of the mine site – thus causing potential dust problems with neighbouring properties, as well as onsite administration and workshop areas.

Secondly, access roads are invariably too small for conventional mining water trucks to safely navigate on a regular basis, so dust is once again a problem.

Sites that do use water trucks on LV roads typically use heavy, rigid road-going water trucks.
However, those who pursue this method historically find they are using this basic form of dust suppression on a 24/7 basis…particularly during the hotter, dryer months.

The alternative to water carts for dust suppression on Light Vehicle roads.

Even though water itself is sometimes considered to be free, watering can come at a very high cost.

Based on a network of say, 20km of roads approximately 10m wide, water cart operating costs (for both cart and operator) could total over $1 million per annum, operating on a continual basis.

Dust-A-Side Australia’s solution for dust control on Light Vehicle Roads on the other hand may mean that products only be used once a week, fortnight, month or even longer once established.

Watering frequency is often reduced by up to 90%, and this could potentially equate to an annual saving of 55%…and that doesn’t even take into account the auxiliary costs when multiple contractors are on site.

Other factors such as travel costs (either FIFO or DIDO), and/or accommodation and meals for supervisors and operators would obviously be reduced.

These savings are on top of the reduced road maintenance costs due to the material-binding properties and the waterproofing nature of Dust-A-Side’s proven range of products.

In addition to cost savings, our LV road solutions also:

  • Reduce vehicle interactions
  • Minimise uncontrolled movements
  • Rationalise the number of contractors onsite
  • Increase visibility for all road users, and
  • Reduce dust levels (thus helping to achieve EPA dust compliance).

Dust-A-Side Australia can assist you with your LV roads management at any stage.
Ideally our engineers would like to have input into the actual construction, ensuring they have a strong stable base and durable wearing course, however we can also assist with ongoing enhancement and maintenance of existing roads.

For more information and advice about Light Vehicle Roads, speak to one of our expert team members today on 1800 662 387 or click here to contact us.

Free Download: Dust Control Comparison Guide for Mine Roads eBook

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