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Vehicle Operating Practices

Vehicle Start Up

Prior to a vehicle being operated the following “Vehicle Start Up Procedure” should be adopted:-

  1. Before starting a vehicle the operator should ensure that precautions are taken to prevent any unplanned vehicle movement. The parking brake must be properly applied and the appropriate gear selected. Where necessary the wheels, tracks and other equipment must be prevented from moving by physical measures such as wheel securing, chocking or blocking, jacking or other suitable control measures.
  2. A competent authorised operator should be in control of the vehicle at all times when the engine is running. The operator must not leave the vehicle with the engine running unless suitable precautions have been taken to prevent any unplanned or unauthorised vehicle movement.
  3. Before moving the vehicle in any direction the operator must ensure that the surrounding area is clear of other vehicles, pedestrians and other obstructions, Safe Driving and Plant Operation especially to the front or rear of the vehicle. In the case of rotating, tracked or articulating vehicles this is particularly important.

Driving a Vehicle

When driving a vehicle in the site the following points should be considered when preparing vehicle rules.

  1. All vehicles driven within the site should use dipped headlights at all times.
  2. Ensure that the area around the vehicle is clear before moving away or altering direction. Where reasonably practicable, large vehicles must never be turned using full steering lock from a parked position. Any area where the vehicle may manoeuvre must first be checked and must be clear. Where necessary the driver must exit the cab to check that the area is clear before moving off.
  3. Drive with due care and attention and at a speed that is appropriate to the prevailing ground, weather and visibility conditions. Obey local speed limits where applicable.
  4. A safe distance must be maintained from the vehicle in front so that emergency action can be taken. As a practical rule, vehicles must maintain a minimum of 3 large truck lengths (approx. 30 metres) away from the vehicle in front and further in poor conditions. Particular care should be taken on haul roads that have been newly sprayed with water for dust suppression purposes.
  5. Vehicles will normally be driven on the left-hand side of the road unless specific instructions are issued or local rules implemented to the contrary.
  6. Loaded vehicles always have priority over empty vehicles.
  7. Light vehicles must always give way to heavy vehicles and not enter heavy vehicle areas without permission from supervisors. A safe distance must always be kept from heavy vehicles.
  8. Light vehicles should not travel along areas of reduced visibility on the off sides of dump trucks without advance communication with the dump truck operator.
  9. When vehicles of similar size and capacity are sharing a haul road and there is a need to give way, the vehicle travelling uphill has priority.
  10. Vehicle operators must give way to traffic coming from the right at junctions.
  11. Only trucks for loading or tipping purposes may enter the swing radius of an excavator or manoeuvring zone of a dozer or loading shovel. Pedestrians and other vehicles must not enter the area unless granted permission by the Supervisor or other designated person and the plant is stationary with the bucket, blade, ripper or other raised equipment grounded.
  12. Broken down or stranded vehicles must be reported immediately to a supervisor who must assess the situation, organise vehicle recovery procedures or arrange for the area to be cordoned off by hazard cones or other suitable means, such as a physical barrier, if appropriate.
  13. On no account should a vehicle be driven within any cordoned off areas.
  14. With the exception of authorised vehicles that have been fitted with suitable safety devices, road going vehicles must be escorted while being driven within the quarry working area.
  15. Coasting out of gear is forbidden in all circumstances.
  16. Overtaking manoeuvres must only be done when safe to do so and with the full acknowledgement of the operators in front and to the rear. Signals, radio communication and visual contact must be used as appropriate. Overtaking must not be attempted where there is not enough road width to do so safely or on a short road, ramp or blind corner or in wet and slippery or poor visibility conditions.
  17. Vehicle operators must keep their cabs clean and tidy, store loose and personal items securely and ensure there are no obstructions to visibility aids, windows, controls, gauges, warning lights etc. Vehicles will be driven with the doors closed at all times.
  18. Vehicle operators must remain alert at all times to pedestrian activities which will be kept to a minimum in the quarry. Operators who are unsure about the location of a pedestrian or light vehicle should stop their vehicle immediately. Particular care should be taken during reversing manoeuvres and at maintenance and parking areas.
  19. Vehicles must never enter a pedestrian only zone. Pedestrians must never enter a “No Pedestrian Area.”
  20. Pedestrian activities must be kept to a minimum and vehicle operators must remain in their cabs wherever possible. When leaving the cab of a vehicle at any time a vehicle operator becomes a pedestrian and will be required to wear a hard hat, high visibility waistcoat/jacket and safety boots.
  21. Pedestrians must remain in full view of vehicle operators and must communicate with vehicle operators to confirm their presence. Always check – never assume that you have been seen.
  22. Vehicle operators must immediately contact a site supervisor in the event of any breakdowns, emergencies or any other unplanned event.
  23. In the event of an accident mobile plant should not be moved and operators should remain in their cabs unless there is imminent danger. Mobile Plant will only be permitted to be moved once a thorough investigation has been carried out.
  24. If mobile plant is obstructed such that the obstruction is large enough to offer resistance to forward or reverse movement then the machine should be halted immediately and the obstruction investigated before plant damage occurs or is made worse.

Entry into a Loading Zone

The loading zone is defined by the manoeuvring zone of the excavator or loading shovel and the manoeuvring zone of the trucks being loaded or waiting to be loaded.

  1. The entry of any vehicle other than a dump truck into the loading zone of an excavator or loading shovel is prohibited while excavation and loading operations are active.
  2. The operators of dozers, graders or rigid water bowsers and other heavy plant that are required to enter the loading zone for operational purposes must receive permission from the Supervisor or other designated person who will exercise control of traffic movements to ensure that no collisions can occur and will give appropriate instruction to vehicle operators.
  3. If light vehicles or pedestrian are required to enter the loading zone, contact must be made with the Supervisor or other designated person by radio to request permission to proceed. Before granting permission the Supervisor or other designated person must ensure that the excavator or loading shovel is stationary with the bucket grounded and dump trucks and other heavy plant have been parked up in a safe location in accordance with Supervisors or other designated person’s instructions.
  4. In each situation the Supervisor or other designated person must ensure that radio contact is made with the appropriate personnel and must not authorise entry of vehicles and pedestrians into the loading zone until he has ensured all dump trucks and heavy plant have parked up in a safe location.
  5. If at any time a vehicle or pedestrian enters the loading zone without prior permission a Supervisor or other designated person must be notified immediately and all plant must stop and remain stationary until instructed otherwise by a Supervisor or other designated person. The operator of the excavator or loading shovel must ground the bucket and ensure that the excavator or loading shovel does not move.
  6. If at any time a vehicle or pedestrian enters the loading zone without permission and is seen by any driver, that driver must immediately stop, notify the supervisor and ensure using his radio that all other machines in the loading zone are told to stop and remain stationary. The operator of the excavator or loading shovel must ground the bucket and ensure that the excavator or loading shovel does not move. The supervisor or other designated person must then take control of the situation before any vehicle is allowed to move.
  7. For further guidance refer to the flow chart ‘Operational Control of Vehicle Movements in Active Heavy Plant Areas’

Loading Operations

  1. During normal loading operations, when the excavator operator is satisfied that a truck is positioned safely to receive a load he will discharge the load from the bucket.
  2. On completion of the load and when the excavator operator is satisfied the truck is safely loaded the excavator horn or other suitable indicating device will be used to inform the truck driver to move off.
  3. On sites where local authority planning permissions restrict the use of horns on nightshift the Site Manager must authorise a safe system of work for communication between excavators and dump trucks, for example signaling using lights to indicate that the truck is safely loaded.
  4. Dump trucks should approach the loading zone in an orderly fashion and should only manoeuvre into position when it is safe to do so.
  5. Whilst loading is underway no vehicles should be parked within the loading zone other than for the purpose of being loaded.
  6. When a dump truck has been loaded it must leave the loading zone and proceed to the tipping area without delay. Excavator operators must check the truck has left the loading zone before making any manoeuvre that would cause collision with the loaded truck should it not move off for any reason. If the truck cannot move off immediately the truck driver must communicate with the excavator operator.

Tipping Operations

1. Suitable edge protection berms with a minimum height equal to 1.5m or the radius of the largest vehicle wheel, whichever is greater, must be maintained at drop edges. Such berms and stand-offs should be designed or considered by the Geotechnical Specialist to ensure stability and allow for the maximum rear axle weights and dynamic loading. Tip edge berms must be maintained at all times to a suitable profile as illustrated below.


2. Dozers and other vehicles in the tipping area must remain in the view of the operator of a reversing vehicle at all times i.e. on the cab side. Dozers and dump trucks must remain at least one truck width apart from other vehicles while on tip edges. Dump truck operators must never drive within the reversing path of a dozer.

3. On no account should a vehicle be reversed blindly in a tipping area. Operators must make full use of visibility aids and should not reverse until they are certain that the path is clear and only if a stand-off or protection is in place adjacent to any edge or hazard.


Where possible the dozer should work with a tipped load between the dump truck to ensure a physical control measure is in place to maintain a safe distance. Do not enter the dozers reversing path.

4. On no account should a dozer operator leave a tip edge unless a suitable edge protection berm is in place.

5. If due to a breakdown or other unforeseen circumstances the dozer operator is unable to form a suitable edge protection berm, the operator must inform a supervisor immediately.

6. Dump truck operators must ensure that an orderly sequence of tipping is followed at all times giving due attention to other vehicles in the tipping area.

7. On approach to the tipping area the dump truck must be positioned so that it can reverse safely taking account of other vehicles in the vicinity.

8. Dump trucks must be reversed safely in the tipping area and approach the tip edge at a decreasing speed. The dump truck must be manoeuvred to allow it to stop at right angles adjacent to the tip edge berm.

9. Operators must make full use of all visibility aids and other reversing aids throughout this operation to monitor the position of the rear wheels in relation to the tip edge berm.

10. Loads should only be discharged at a tip edge when a suitable edge berm is in position.

11. On no account should a vehicle be allowed to mount a tip edge berm or the load tipped directly over the tip ed


Manoeuvring Vehicles in Restricted Areas

Where vehicle size segregation is not possible then restricted areas shall be established for working areas. Working areas may be defined as: ‘Any area where multiple mobile plant operates’.

The movement of all mobile plant must stop before ancillary vehicles or pedestrians enter the working area.

Site Traffic Management Rules shall specify the working areas. The position of working areas may continually change due to site operations, however as a minimum, the following must be specified as working areas.

A place where multiple items of mobile plant are operating:-

  1. Operating area around an excavator on mining operations and the traffic movement associated with it.
  2. Operating area around a dozer on a tip and the traffic movement associated with it.
  3. Operating area around a loading shovel(s) at stockpiles, processing and loading areas and the traffic movement associated with it.


Some ‘restricted areas’ and ‘operational areas’ may intersect or overlap. Under these circumstances the whole area will be classified as a ‘Restricted area’.

Site Traffic Management Rules will specify:-

  1. The extent of the exclusion zones for restricted areas.
  2. The procedure for entering ‘restricted areas’ and ‘operational areas’.

Safe waiting areas (‘Holding Areas’) should be provided outside exclusion zones to enable ancillary vehicles to park, or pedestrians to wait, in a safe place until authorised to enter the exclusion zone when traffic movement has been stopped.

  1. Site workshops and a 10 metre radius around vehicles and plant parked for servicing and maintenance will be classified as restricted areas in which vehicle movements should be strictly controlled. Other restricted areas at sites will be identified by management on a risk assessment basis.
  2. Vehicles should not enter or leave a restricted area, where other vehicles or Restricted Area pedestrians are present, without the permission of a Supervisor or other designated person. At workshops a point at which all vehicles should stop and should be designated and clearly identified by means of a warning notice.
  3. Where vehicles have to be manoeuvred in a restricted area this should be done under the control of a Supervisor or other designated person.
  4. In restricted areas light vehicles should wherever possible be parked separately from heavy vehicles; however their manoeuvres may also be restricted and require assistance from a Supervisor or other designated person.
  5. The Supervisor or other designated person will be in control of the vehicle manoeuvring operation and vehicle operators should follow his instructions at all times (eye to eye contact is essential). Radio communication should be used as appropriate.
  6. During the manoeuvring operation the Supervisor or other designated person must: -
  • Wear high-visibility clothing
  • Stay within the operator’s direct line of sight
  • Where practicable stay on the vehicle operator’s cab side but at all times remain a safe distance away from the manoeuvring vehicle.
  • Be in a position to clearly see the area in which the vehicle is to be manoeuvred and arrange to clear or restrict entry to the area if necessary.
  • Stand in a safe location and remain alert to other activities in the area
  • Use approved hand signals and radio where necessary to communicate with operators.

7.  Prior to engaging reverse gear the operator should sound the vehicle horn 3 times or communicate by site radio to warn of its imminent movement irrespective of whether CCTV and audible reversing alarms are fitted.

8.  Operators should stop their vehicles if the Supervisor or other designated person is not in full view.

9.  Designated persons should consult with supervisors to ensure that vehicles are parked in approved areas, keeping heavy and light vehicles apart wherever possible.

10.  Pedestrian activities must be kept to a minimum in restricted areas.


  1. Where practicable, traffic segregation should be provided to minimise the requirement for utility vehicles, land rovers etc. to overtake larger vehicles.
  2. Where utility traffic routes are provided, then overtaking can be controlled by the provision of single traffic routes with overtaking bays, so that the one vehicle is stationary whilst being overtaken.
  3. On the main haul roads overtaking should be subject to an approved scheme for overtaking or undertaking.
  4. Consideration should be given to utility vehicles not overtaking dump trucks or water bowsers when they are in operation.
  5. In general, no overtaking should take place on road junctions or on bends.


  1. Vehicles should be parked on level ground wherever possible to minimise the possibility of them being set in motion.
  2. Vehicles should be parked in an authorised parking area in accordance with a parking system approved by the Site Manager. If it is not possible to do so or if a vehicle is broken down, permission must be sought from a supervisor to park elsewhere.
  3. When leaving a vehicle unattended the engine should be switched off, ignition key removed, all brakes applied and the appropriate gear selected to suit any gradient. The key or any other device for starting vehicles must be kept in a secure place to prevent unauthorised starting of vehicles.
  4. Vehicles and equipment should be parked a suitable safe distance from a quarry face to minimise the risk of being struck by falls of ground. When this is unavoidable due to a breakdown or unforeseen circumstances a risk assessment must be carried out by a manager or supervisor before permission is given for personnel to enter the area.
  5. Ground engaging equipment i.e. excavator buckets, dozer blades, ripper teeth and scraper bowls should be lowered to the ground when parking and if stopping to be serviced or fuelled.
  6. Vehicles should never be parked within the swing radius of an excavator or the manoeuvring zone of other operational quarry vehicles unless in accordance with a safe system of work that involves the immobilisation of the other vehicles e.g. during a maintenance operation.
  7. When it is necessary to park light vehicles close to non-operational heavy plant e.g. for maintenance purposes, the heavy plant should be prevented from moving and immobilised before entering the area and must remain immobilised during the operation.
  8. Wherever possible vehicles should be parked on flat, level ground. Vehicles stopping or parking on slopes must never be left unattended unless the wheels are secured, chocked, blocked or angled against a suitable berm so as the vehicle cannot move accidentally. In the case of a bulldozer or excavator, the blade, tooth or bucket must be dug into the ground.

Dust Suppression

The watering of haul roads to suppress dust has the potential for traffic accidents; either by the water bowser turning over or by the haul roads becoming very slippery because of wet bends and ramps and any other sections of haul road where brakes may be applied.

Drivers of water bowsers should take extra care, especially when full, to avoid driving across gradients due to the potential increase in instability of trucks carrying fluids.

Water bowser operators should at all times ‘patch’ spray haul roads and avoid blanket spray or excessive amounts of water being deposited on the roads (especially in braking areas, gradients and junctions of haul roads).