If roads are in use along the bottom of a face or below a tipping area the required widths should always be considered to ensure that any vehicles using this road are a suitable distance from the face to protect them from potential rock falls. Consideration should also be given to the installation of rock traps to catch any falling materials. They may need to be designed by the Geotechnical Specialist.
Benches and roads should be designed with viewing distances and alignment in mind to ensure that a vehicle rounding a curve, cresting a hill, descending a grade, or approaching a junction can stop in time to avoid an object in the road or a vehicle pulling onto the road.
Edge Protection on Roads
Edge protection must be provided to prevent mobile plant and ancillary vehicles from being driven over an unprotected edge. All benches and roads which run alongside free edges where there is a drop, lagoon or other hazard which would put the driver, or others, at risk if the vehicle left the bench or road, shall have adequate edge protection provided.
On roads used by mobile plant the minimum acceptable height of the edge protection is 1.5m or the radius of the largest wheel / tyre, whichever is greater. Additional protection may be needed in high risk areas such as sharp bends or steep haul roads.
The aim of the edge protection is to stop the largest, fully loaded vehicle crossing it when travelling at the maximum foreseeable speed and it should be constructed with this in mind.
Maintenance and Repair
Roads must be regularly maintained so that they do not develop bumps, ruts or potholes which may make control of vehicles difficult or cause health problems due to whole body vibration. Also excess mud and slurry can seriously affect the manoeuvrability and braking potential of the plant using the road.
Roads have to be adequately constructed to be suitable for the vehicle using them. This means they need to be well drained and surfaced with suitable materials. This not only improves safety but also productivity. Wherever gaps are left in road edge protection these must be designed so as to prevent vehicles from leaving the roadway and the gap must be minimised to the narrowest practicable.
The greatest risk to pedestrians is from vehicles and mobile plant. Pedestrian activity within the operational areas shall wherever possible be restricted, particularly in hours of darkness. For certain operations “no entry” zones should be identified and clearly marked by signs, fencing, cones etc. Employees must not enter operational areas as a pedestrian unless authorised to do so.
Where practicable, pedestrian routes or zones should be established and designated with suitable signs, barriers, road markings etc. particularly where plant is operating or manoeuvring. Such areas would be in plant and vehicle parking areas, around static plant and around buildings particularly workshops. The Traffic Management plan should also consider pedestrian activities.
Plant and vehicles must be operated and driven safely at a speed which is consistent with the prevailing site conditions. Site conditions can vary considerably over a relatively short period of time, either because of changing weather conditions reducing visibility or by road conditions deteriorating; reducing traction or becoming more slippery or because of the volume of traffic which accelerates wear and tear on bends and other areas where braking takes place.
There is no hard and fast requirement for speed limits on haul roads, as the surface mine environment is very dynamic and subject to the above changing conditions, however consideration should be given to maximum speed limits. Any such speed limits would need to be regularly monitored and reviewed to ensure that they are still appropriate.
Permanent site roads such as access roads to the office, welfare buildings, workshops, stocking ground, weighbridge etc. should be assessed for suitable speed limits, as invariably these are metalled roads and speeding vehicles can be a problem. Where speed limits are set adequate signage must be in place.
Potential dangers need to be indicated by suitable warning signs. Drivers and pedestrians should be able to expect that the layout, signs, road furniture and markings on site will be similar to those on public roads.
Signs and lighting should be kept clean and well maintained so that they are always visible.
Signs that should be considered for use along surface mine haul roads include:
- To identify separate traffic routes and inform who can travel them
- To identify safe waiting (holding) areas for working and operational areas
- To identify hazards such as heavy plant crossing points, overhead obstructions etc.
- To identify traffic controls such as speed limits etc.
- To identify pedestrian routes and crossing points.
- Entry to workshop, maintenance, processing etc areas
The Quarries Regulations 1999 Regulation 23 and guidance requires that there should be adequate lighting of site locations and vehicles at all times to enable all persons to work safely and in safety. Adequate lighting should be provided to all areas and especially to those areas used in hours of darkness or in poor visibility or diminished lighting conditions. As a minimum, lighting should be provided for junctions, around plant and buildings, pedestrian routes and areas where loading/unloading is to be carried out.