District 5 - Coal Mine Safety and Health
A Near Miss
Recently, District 5 experienced three near miss truck haulage accidents. This follows a fatal accident three months ago. These accidents emphasize the need for increased awareness, diligence and effective maintenance programs and pre-operational equipment examinations.
- A truck was descending an eighteen percent grade, loaded with 48 tons of coal. Suddenly, the driver heard a popping noise. This resulted in loss of engine hold-back power. The transmission was in low gear and low range and the brakes were in good condition. The driver controlled the truck by braking for a distance of approximately 50 feet. As he approached a series of curves, he chose to drive the truck into the ditch rather than attempt to negotiate the curves. He drove the truck into an embankment which resulted in the truck tipping on its right side. The driver sustained only slight bruises due to the fact that he was wearing his seat/shoulder belt. Effective brakes, experience and training, and quick thinking prevented the driver from having a more serious accident.
- A coal haulage truck was beginning to descend a steep grade when the driver realized that his brakes were defective. He steered the vehicle into an embankment to prevent a run-away. An inspection of the truck revealed that the trailer contained a defective airline coupling which had disconnected from the braking system.
- A loaded coal truck was exiting a pit when the soft coal sank beneath the wheels. This resulted in the truck overturning onto its side. The driver suffered a fractured rib when he was thrown to the opposite side of the truck cab during the accident.