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Resources Regulator says its possible worker suffered a micro-sleep when their dump truck crashed at a mine near Singleton

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Damage to the front and cabin of the rear truck.

The NSW Resources Regulator says it's possible a worker suffered a micro-sleep when a dump truck crashed at a mine near Singleton last year. 

The Regulator has released their investigation report into an incident at Bulga Open Cut near Singleton where on July 23, 2018 an unloaded dump truck was being driven along a haul road approaching an intersection - there were other vehicles around so the dump truck stopped to give way. 

Another unloaded dump truck was also being driven along the same haul road, the driver lifted their foot from the accelerator allowing that truck to slow down for the one in front but the driver become unresponsive and the truck crashed into the rear of the truck in front. 

The report says it is possible the driver suffered a micro-sleep or medical episode. 

The driver in the rear dump truck was trapped with their right foot twisted between the brake and the accelerator pedals. As a result the driver suffered a broken leg, a laceration to the eye as well as minor cuts and bruises.

Throughout the investigation Bulga Open Cut worked with the regulator. The investigation has found that there were no breaches of work health or safety legislation in relation to the incident. 

They also found that the driver had several fatigue-related events, both on day and night shift following the incident, and it is possible that these were related to the driver’s pre-existing medical condition.

After the incident the mine strengthened its risk controls to better manage worker fatigue including the installation of a fatigue monitoring system. 

Prior to the incident the Regulator says a capital project was in place to install GuardVant Fatigue Monitoring System across the entire Glencore Coal Assets Australia rear dump truck fleet. The dump truck fleet at Bulga Open Cut was included in the project and was due for completion in June 2019.

As a result of this incident, the GuardVant Fatigue Management System was installed on the heavy vehicle fleet at Bulga open Cut and completed in December 2018.

The GuardVant Fatigue Management System is a fatigue monitoring system designed to continuously monitor operators for fatigue and distraction. The system consists of a fatigue monitoring camera facing the operator, forward facing camera, seat vibration alert, speaker alert and ‘transit-hound’ mobile phone detection.

The injured worker returned to work in January this year but resigned not long after as the fatigue monitoring system picked up on fatigue events with the worker. 

The Regulator says it isn't known if the fatigue events were fatigue-related or alternatively related to the worker's pre-existing medical condition. 

Image credit: NSW Resources Regulator https://www.resourcesregulator.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/1144212/Investigation-Report-Bulga-Open-Cut-dump-truck-collision.pdf