Industry News

Safety alert after second quarry death in three months

A 61-year-old man died after the dump truck he was in rolled over at an undisclosed quarry in Plumpton, Victoria, on Monday 23 May.

According to 9News reports, emergency services found the man alive but in a critical condition when they arrived at the scene and he was airlifted to The Alfred Hospital where he died shortly afterwards.

WorkSafe Victoria is investigating the incident which is the second fatality to occur in Victorian quarries in the last three months.

Last week’s accident follows the death of a 30-year-old woman who was killed in March. On that occasion, the dump truck she was in was tipping waste material over the crest of a dump head and the slope failed.

A WorkSafe investigation into that incident, which took place at the Metro Quarry Group site in Nyora in March, is ongoing. The owners are co-operating with WorkSafe’s inquiries.

“Both incidents remain under investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment further,” a WorkSafe spokesman told Quarry.

“Tipping off or extracting rock, sand, or gravel from, or in the vicinity of, a slope may put employees or contractors at risk of falling from the crest of the slope, being engulfed by materials from sliding, collapsing or subsiding slopes, or being struck by falling materials or plant.

“It is important that appropriate measures are put in place to make sure the risks associated with working in quarries are minimised.”

Safety alert

Coincidentally, the health and safety organisation issued a safety alert on its website on the day of the Plumpton death to draw attention to the hazards of working near slopes.

In that alert, advice given to quarry operators includes conducting geotechnical stability assessments of slopes, such as pit operating faces, overburden faces, overburden dumps, product stockpiles, and tailing dam embankments. Employers are also advised to ensure staff and independent contractors are provided with information, training or supervision to enable them to perform their work safely.

Putting safe systems of work in place for practices like loading and unloading material near slope faces, working near slope faces and carrying out regular visual inspections for hazards such as cracks, especially after heavy rain, is also advised. Assessments should be carried out by a suitable person, such as a geotechnical engineer.

The safety alert is viewable on the WorkSafe Victoria website and can be downloaded as a PDF file.

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