Road Safety Audit in the Mining Industry



If conducted on a daily basis, or whenever operational circumstances change significantly, road safety audits can assist mining organizations to minimize the risks for their road users, writes Damir Vagaja.

Wherever there’s traffic, there are traffic hazards. This is often particularly true in mines with specific issues like an incompatibility between vehicle types, fatigue, operational constraints, work pressures, inadequate road networks, etc.

In order to deal with traffic issues of safety both on public roads moreover as on mines, the four elements constitute road transport systems: speed, road environment, vehicles, and users. Each element has to be understood and managed in a very coordinated approach. Such a scientific approach is understood as a Safe System for addressing traffic hazards and reducing road trauma on public roads much like what Towing Santa Clara – fast and reliable services – respond to day by day.

The system has human tolerance to physical forces at its basis and operates under the premise that road users shouldn’t be penalized with death or serious injury for innocent mistakes. Two of the key concepts of Safe System are that roads should be designed to minimize the probabilities of crashes occurring and to minimize injury to drivers who are involved in a very crash. Road safety audits (RSA) are one in each of the tools that are getting used to attain the system’s ambitious ‘zero harm’ targets.

Road safety auditing could be a formalized safety assessment of a road’s safety performance and crash potential that ought to be dispensed at various stages of the project life including design, construction is still post-construction (existing) phases. RSAs aim at identifying existing or potential road questions of safety and suggesting design solutions or procedural improvements to deal with these issues.

RSAs consider and apply the principles of the Safe System approach during a proactive manner as against, as an example, incident investigations which tend to be reactive in addressing traffic issues of safety.

Road safety auditing has been used on public road networks for a variety of years and is now recognized as a valuable and proactive tool for reducing road trauma. In recent years it’s been successfully applied in improving safety at numerous mining operations.


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The benefits of road safety auditing

Road safety is recognized mutually of the key risk areas on mining operations. As a part of a scientific approach for improving safety in mines, the protection of road users should be one of the first areas addressed by mining organizations.

However, without a full appreciation of their importance for the safe and efficient movements of the mining vehicle fleet, roads are often seen as ‘associated’ features of mining operations. To appropriate road design, construction, and maintenance methods, mining operations often give insufficient consideration as a result.

The application of experiences gained from auditing public roads to road networks and vehicle operating areas on mine sites allows the event of comprehensive road improvement strategies that transcend meeting the minimum requirements specified by relevant design standards.

Traffic networks on mine sites and public roads are different in some ways but they share a variety of common elements with the foremost obvious one being the drivers. They operate vehicles on both networks, so it’s important to make sure that roads and vehicle operating areas on mine sites are designed and constructed to the identical safety level and standardized format that drivers are accustomed to encountering within the property right.

Many of the traffic hazards on mine sites are like those on public roads but magnified by the physical size of the operating equipment, condition of the roads, the character of the tasks being undertaken, the combination of various vehicles, nature of the work, and others.

Mining operations have a chance to handle traffic risks through their influence and direct control of policies (traffic management systems), infrastructure, equipment, and personnel. If addressed systematically, the exposure to potentially hazardous situations within mine road networks is reduced.

Mine management is within the position to make sure that roads are designed to relevant standards, traffic management plans and procedures are implemented and followed, safest vehicles and equipment are used, and training is provided to vehicle operators thus, effectively, creating a secure System environment within which a ‘zero harm’ target is achievable.

Unfortunately, despite the simplest intentions and efforts, things do fail and sometimes it’s found that the best things that would be changed are those who would have possibly prevented an accident or incident occurring. This can be where RSAs have an exercise on mine sites.

In order to produce the largest benefits, road safety auditing should be considered as an intrinsic component of project development and a critical element of an efficient and robust traffic management framework.