Fault-tree analysis of dozer burial accidents on coal surge piles
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 2002
A fatal accident may result when a dozer is driven over a hidden void in a coal surge pile and the dozer falls into the void, burying and suffocating the dozer operator. This type of accident was analyzed by researchers from the Spokane Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safely and Health using inexpensive fault-tree programs that had been developed, for use on a personal computer. Fault-tree analysis is a systematic safety-analysis tool that proceeds deductively from the occurrence of an accident event to the identification of the root causes of that event. The analysis identified basic and intermediate events that led to the burial of the dozer and graphically depicted the interrelationship between the basic events as well as the intermediate events leading up to the accident. A sensitivity analysis on assigned probabilities showed which events had the greatest influence on dozer burial in a coal surge pile. Operational guidelines and engineering controls are suggested to decrease the probability of a burial event.