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RR406 - Seatbelt performance in quarry vehicle incidents

Quarrying and open cast coal mining has been recognised as one of the most dangerous work environments in which to be employed, with the fatality rate more than three times that of the construction industry and 20 times that of all industry (Foster, 2003). The most frequent type of accident in quarries is those involving vehicles, accounting for approximately 40% (HSE, 1993). Industry standards have been implemented in the UK with respect to all round visibility from vehicles, edge protection and brake testing to reduce the number of casualties. The effectiveness of restraint systems is considered as the next step to achieving casualty reduction targets.

This research has reviewed current international standards relating to occupant protection and accident data. A range of accident conditions were simulated using multi-body numerical models that were evaluated against data from full scale tests. This information was supplemented by assessing the risk from structures inside the vehicle cab and consideration of practical issues relating to the use of restraints.

Restraint of the torso was shown to provide additional benefits over the current lap belts. Wider implementation of more comprehensive restraint systems should be encouraged. However, a number of issues should be considered before full implementation throughout the industry.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2009-05-05