Safety Alert

Safety of loads on transport systems


  • Coal Mine Managers
  • Coal Mine Owners
  • Unions
  • Inspectors

Safety Circular

On a main locomotive horizon at a large coal mine an overman, acting as a shunter, received fatal crush injuries when he was trapped between a mine car and an overhanging load during shunting operations. It appeared that he had removed a long coupler between two vehicles and the stored energy in the spring loaded couplings brought the vehicles and their loads together.

One man was killed and another suffered serious injuries when two vehicles which formed part of a train of eight vehicles detached at a coupling and ran away. The coupling was later found to be defective.

In another accident a locomotive driver was killed as a result of the sudden derailment and projection of a load of pre-packed support material contained on the leading vehicle, contrary to the transport rules.

The incidents are a reminder of the need to:

  • ensure that the transport of overhanging loads is properly planned and supervised
  • use spacer vehicles to separate overhanging loads from other vehicles and locomotives
  • ensure the proper maintenance and suitability of couplings on transport systems.

Yours sincerely

S P Wing
HM Principal District Inspector of Mines

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