BHP was fined $50,000 in Perth’s Magistrate Court yesterday after pleading guilty to a charge arising from an incident that injured a worker on 27 January 2016.
Ron Addison was driving a triple road train delivering a load of fuel from the Linfox depot in Port Hedland to BHP’s Yandi mine site. The unsealed access road to the Yandi site had been flooded by rain in the days prior to the incident causing significant damage with potholes and mounds of dirt across the surface.
The driver was unaware of the extent of the damage to the road and there were no cones or warnings in place. He maintained a speed of 50 – 60 km/h as the road train approached a steep hill climb to the site, and the impact from the uneven road surface caused the prime mover to bounce causing an injury to the driver’s back.
The investigation by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) found that without warnings in place, the driver was unable to avoid driving over the damaged road surface.
DMIRS Mines Safety Director, Andrew Chaplyn said the outcome could have been much more serious.
“There was a failure to ensure access to the mine was safe,” Mr Chaplyn said.
“After the flooding, it was evident there were hazards from the damaged road for road train drivers. There was a risk of the triple road train driver losing control, jack-knifing or rolling the trailers.
“The driver was able to keep the truck and trailers under control despite the prime mover bouncing around and impacting the uneven road surface with sufficient force to bend the bull bar back.
“Ensuring safety measures were enforced for mine access roads could have prevented the incident. Clear signage, cones or barriers should have been in place warning of the hazard to alert road train drivers, and drivers should have been allowed to use an existing alternative safe route.”
Since the incident, the access road has not been used by trucks for deliveries to the Yandi site.