While the US Mine Safety and Health Administration declined to identify where the June 25 incident occurred, it confirmed the 50-year-old was ascending an active haul road when he lost control of his vehicle.
The driver, who had 30 years of experience, passed two axle berms as he descended, though a parked coal truck blocked access to the third axle berm at the hill’s bottom.
“The runaway truck side-swiped the parked truck as the driver attempted to pass,” the agency said.
“The runaway truck continued approximately 200 feet on level ground, went over an embankment, and came to rest on its side in a creek.”
An investigation into the incident revealed that there were numerous deficiencies with the truck’s brakes.
The driver had been wearing his seat belt.
Officials also stress that drivers should be aware of their truck’s capabilities, operating ranges and load limits, select the proper gear as needed and downshift in advance of a descent.
MSHA also has urged complete and thorough pre-operational examinations and the proper maintenance of equipment’s braking and steering systems to keep them in good repair and adjustment.
Operations should construct axle berms and/or runaway ramps in areas of steep grades, and once in place management must train all drivers on the use of the applicable protections.
The maintenance of access areas leading to axle berms and runaway ramps at all times is vital, as is traveling on mine property at or below the posted speed limit.
MSHA said, all mines should have an area where a functionality check could be performed on a piece of equipment, and, when behind the wheel, drivers should always be aware and mindful of weather and changing conditions that could affect visibility and other factors.