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by Les Oldridge AIRTE, AMIMI
The quarry vehicle regulations 1970
THESE regulations, which came into effect on April 29 1970, set out the conditions which must be observed when vehicles are used at quarries. Aimed at increasing safety, the regulations, for the first time so far as I am aware, control the use of vehicles on private property.
"Quarry vehicle" is defined in the regulations as a mechanically propelled vehicle (including mechanically propelled plant) which forms part of the equipment of the quarry. The term does not include vehicles used on rails or ropeways, pedestrian controlled vehicles or motorcycles. The tipper, owned by a haulier, which comes in off the road to load does not appear to be subject to the regulations as I would not think it "forms part of the equipment of the quarry"—though quarryowned tippers might possibly be regarded as such. Dump trucks and the like always used in the quarry certainly fall within the scope of these new laws.
Regulation 3 states that all quarry vehicles must be fitted with an instrument capable of giving adequate audible warning of its approach or position. If the vehicle is never used on roads then the restrictions on the type of warning instrument to which road vehicles are subject do not apply. A bell or gong could, for example, be used instead of the more conventional horn if the owner so desired.
The second part of this regulation requires that all vehicles, other than mechanically propelled drilling machines, in use during the hours of darkness, must have sufficient and suitable artificial lighting to enable the vehicle to be safely used having regard to the particular purpose for which it is used and the circumstances of its use. No details of the lights to be carried are given, there being no mention of head, tail or side lamps, The lamps must be "sufficient and suitable" and it would seem that the manager or owner of the quarry must rely on his experience and judgment to decide what lamps to fit to the vehicles. No quarry vehicle or trailer fitted with a tipping body may be used at a quarry unless there is provided a device or devices for keeping the tipping body from collapsing from the raised position. This device must be independent of the tipping mechanism fitted to the vehicle. A baulk of timber to act as a prop, shaped at each end to fix securely between the body and the frame, will meet this requirement. This seems a sensible precaution on tippers of all types and I know many operators already use something of this kind.
Regulation 4 which deals with these "props" also lays down precautions to be taken to prevent tippers from running away, falling or overturning. The owner or manager of the quarry must provide, where appropriate, stop blocks, anchor chains or other suitable devices to prevent accidents of this nature. The following regulation requires persons using quarry vehicles to take precautions including, where necessary, the using of the safety devices mentioned previously.
Everyone employed at a quarry who is in charge of a vehicle must not alight from it unless he has ensured that it is so placed or secured that it cannot accidentally move or be set in motion. (Regulation 6.) Regulation 7 creates the offence of careless driving in a quarry. The wording of this section is very similar to that relating to careless driving on roads contained in the Road Traffic Act 1960. The regulation reads "A person who drives a quarry vehicle at a quarry without due care and attention, having regard to all the circumstances of the case including the nature, condition and use of the road or other place over which the vehicle is being driven and the visibility at the time, shall be guilty of an offence."
Persons under the' age of 17 are prohibited from driving quarry vehicles and only persons appointed by the owner or manager as drivers are permitted to drive them. Persons authorized by the management to receive training in driving any of the quarry vehicles may do so but only providing that they drive under the close personal supervision of a competent person appointed by the management for this purpose and that signs indicating that the driver is under instruction are prominently displayed at the front and rear of the vehicle. (Regulation 9) Where there is, any overhead structure or cable which could obstruct the passage of any quarry vehicle prominent signs must be placed at the approach to the obstruction which can be easily seen and read by the driver and which indicate the clearance beneath the obstruction.
The manager of a quarry, or where there are two or more managers, the one having jurisdiction over the relevant part of the quarry, must make rules regulating the conduct of persons employed there for securing compliance with the regulations and in particular with the requirement for "props" under tipping bodies and for precautions to ensure vehicles from running away, falling or overturning. He must erect traffic signs for giving effect to the regulations and the rules regulating the conduct of persons employed. A copy of the rules in force at the quarry must be kept in covered accommodation at the quarry or near by.