OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 36 Mining

Section 539 Haul roads

Subsection 539(1)

The major consideration in haul road design is safety. The design must anticipate the varying sizes, speeds, capabilities and loads of the vehicles and equipment that will travel on the road. Since most haul roads are built on pit walls and wind down to the bottom of the pit, a significant amount of capital is tied up in their development. Economic considerations tend to force an increase in the road gradient to shorten the haul road and a reduction in road width to minimize the required excavation of waste material. The employer must ensure the road is sufficient to handle emergencies.

Common factors considered in effective haul road design include:
(a) width;
(b) gradient;
(c) radius of curvature;
(d) super elevation;
(e) rolling resistance;
(f) vehicle requirements;
(g) speed limits;
(h) sight distance;
(i) run-off lanes;
(j) berm height; and
(k) traffic control and signage.

Vehicles with the lowest performance capabilities in a fleet often dictate road design. Although some work can be done to improve a vehicle’s performance, it is best to ensure that the road design accommodates the vehicle with the lowest performance capabilities.

Subsection 539(2)

Emergency escape roads are critical to safe haul road design. Many factors control the number and design of emergency escape roads. These include:
(a) location of normal exit points;
(b) potential entering speed;
(c) vehicle gross weight;
(d) location and available space;
(e) maximum acceptable gradient; and
(f) materials suitable for retarding a runaway vehicle.

Mine operators must assess the hazards of their particular mine environment and where a gradient of more than 5 percent is present, design suitable escape routes to minimize the exposure of mine workers to the hazard of an out-of-control or runaway vehicle.

Subsection 539(3)

Employers must consider berm height and drainage breaks to ensure that haul roads are sufficient to handle emergencies. Sufficient berm height ensures that vehicles do not simply ride over the berm. Drainage breaks in berms must be designed to be small enough to prevent a vehicle from going through them.