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The Open Pit Journal


"Safety is a life long goal, and a goal for long life"

photo by nita marie

photo by nita marie

The Haul Truck Driver's Perspective

This journal will be written mainly from the haul truck drivers point of view but will consider all aspects of open pit mine operations. It is my impression that although haul truck drivers account for the majority of equipment operators in the open pit mine, there are few(if any)publications that address the haul truck driver's perspective. The haul truck driver is usually considered an entry level position and often a stepping stone to other equipment in the mine. For myself, it has been a choice to remain as a driver for many years. The subjects discussed in this journal are all open to interpretation and any other opinions, corrections and criticisms will be welcomed. Furthermore, the research done, and insights applied to, may not always be completely accurate. I hope that my experience, opinions, concerns and suggestions will be a useful tool to other miners in order to promote discussions on safety, efficiency and cost reduction. And so, it is with great enthusiasm that I present to you, Deano's Open Pit Journal.

Big Tires Big Bucks

One of the areas that cost can be positively effected is reduction of tire damage. Tire damage and excessive wear accounts for a significant percentage of annual operating cost and there are several situations in which this problem occurs.

  1. Overloading haul trucks may cause situations that can damage tires and on some occasions may be a dangerous hazard to other vehicles. Spills can occur while rounding corners, on uneven surfaces or steep grades, while being loaded and when dumping. All of these situations can cause material from the dump body to roll off and strike other vehicles or even persons on the ground.
  2. Plug dumping in areas where no berm is available can be a major factor in tire damage. In order to avoid uneven material disbursement, these areas require haul trucks to back up close to piles of material previously dumped. These piles of material often have extremely sharp and jagged pieces exposed near the edge. While trying to keep this material compact, the driver may damage tires especially on the blind side.
  3. Narrow haul roads or “bottlenecks” may cause the haul truck driver or equipment operator to damage the tire sidewall. In tight spaces with oncoming traffic, the operator will move as close to the shoulder as possible to avoid contact with the oncoming traffic and strike exposed, or even hidden material.
  4. Adverse weather conditions such as rain and snow can increase incidents of tire damage. During these times, mud holes can hide sharp or jagged material and slick spots can cause tires to spin with momentary loss of control. This loss of control can cause the operator to be out of position and into an area where there is material that can cause tire damage.
  5. Backing up to a berm that contains 'tire cutters' or a dump site that is not well maintained. Keeping the backing area and berm clear of tire cutters is one factor in increasing tire life. Wherever possible, decreasing the sharpness of the drivers turn while approaching the berm will also help minimize spillage in this area.
  6. Easily visible spillage in an open area should not be a major factor in tire damage but unfortunately this occurs as well. Attempting to straddle a rock spill should be avoided if at all possible. Visibility issues such as weather, blind corners, dust clouds and night shift all contribute to instances of tire damage.
  7. Off centered loads can cause the haul truck to lean to the heavy side increasing spills. It is the drivers responsibility to try and avoid spills by operating the haul truck in a smooth manner. Taking a corner too fast or too much speed over rough terrain can cause excessive spillage and possible damage to vehicles and injury to persons on the ground.

Although there are other factors that can cause tire damage, these are some of the most important. It is impossible to avoid all contact with debris in an open pit mine environment, however, it is possible to decrease situations where, over and over, tire damage occurs. Overloading haul trucks is undoubtedly a major contributor to this problem.

photo by nita marie

photo by nita marie





photo by nita marie

photo by nita marie

nita marie and jimmy

nita marie and jimmy


Your Supervisor on May 20, 2013:

Great ready keep it up. More people should see this from your eyes

paul wright on August 05, 2011:

you did a great job on this page. i will for sure follow up on your site.

Cooter on June 30, 2011:

There are a few phrases you also should know>>>> Always call out spills where ever you see them.... The phrases I've beendealing with and most popular are.. Hilfiker - Craaaaap - Have you seeen the monkey yet... Just a few too learn when working in a open pit mine... P.S. when goober says he will be there!! That means HE WILL BE THERE!!!!!!!

James on November 08, 2010:

Looks good Deano. I think that there is a lot of good information from a perspective not well articulated in the industry. You seem to be able to bridge that gap and help people understand from that perspective.

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