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Aggregates

Aggregates refer to hard, granular materials such as sand, gravel, and crushed stone that are used for construction purposes. Anything made from concrete or asphalt requires aggregates. In Ontario today, almost every building, road, and structure contains some form of aggregate. Each year, the industry uses about 14 tonnes of aggregate for every person in Ontario. Most of the aggregates used in Ontario come from pits and quarries in the province.

Hazards

Hazards that are typically encountered in haulage activities at pits and quarries include the following.

  • Improperly maintained haulage roadways
  • Collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians and rollovers
  • Overloading of haulage vehicles
  • Improperly secured loads
  • Improperly maintained haulage vehicles
  • Improper mounting and dismounting of vehicles
  • Lack of proper loading and dumping procedures
  • Contact with powerlines
  • Improper road maintenance due to weather and environmental conditions
  • Lack of dust control
  • Improper traffic controls
  • Working at heights and fall protection
  • Excessively steep or narrow haulage roads.
 

Best Practices

IHSA provides the following best practices to help avoid these hazards.

  • Ensure all roads within the pits or quarries are properly graded and well-maintained.
  • Install proper signage to direct traffic and workers at the entrances and exits. Post areas where workers should not be working outside a vehicle.
  • Ensure each load is at an appropriate weight and not overloaded. It is important to follow the permitted axle weight and gross weight set out in the legislation.
  • Maintain all vehicles and equipment in good working order. In the case of dump trucks, ensure rear suspension is sound, tire pressure is to manufacturer’s recommended levels, and lifting components and lift cylinders are in good shape.
  • Always maintain 3-point contact when exiting or entering vehicles or accessing any of the machinery on site.
  • Before dumping the material, check the grounds and area for unloading, check the unevenness of the surface, and check for soft and sludgy surfaces. Make sure there are no vehicles parked close to the truck, so as to avoid any hazards due to tipping. The surroundings should not be congested with other operators and workers performing work close to the dump truck. The area should be clear when the truck is dumping.
  • Use proper traffic control procedures when equipment is moving around the site. Make sure your backup alarm and warning lights are in good working order. The operator must pay attention during the entire process of dumping, making sure the tailgate is open and the area is clear when backing. Using a guide when backing up is always advisable.
  • Be aware of any overhead obstructions, especially in the case of powerlines.
  • Inspect the site after severe weather to ensure no flooding or washout has occurred.
 

Dump truck stability

Dump truck stability can be affected by several factors including

  • non-level surfaces under the truck while the box is being raised
  • material becoming lodged in the upper box
  • rear wheels settling into the ground
  • high wind, especially with regards to long boxes.
 

Stability can also be affected by mechanical issues including

  • poor rear suspension on one side
  • uneven tire pressure in rear wheels
  • worn lift cylinders and other lifting components
  • seized tailgate locking mechanism.
 

With those hazards in mind it is important to

  • Check tire pressure regularly
  • Examine pins and bushings
  • Inspect the suspension systems under load
  • Inspect hoist cylinders
 

Operators should be trained to recognize areas hazardous to dumping, such as soft or uneven surfaces and inadequately compacted fill. As well, other workers on site such as dozer operators, surveyors, and spotters should be warned not to work near a dumping truck in case it tips over.

 

Dust Control

Dust suppression is important in complying with requirements set out by the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Natural Resources. However, the Ministry of Labour will also be looking at how companies control dust in order to protect workers. Some measures can include

  • applying water or calcium salts on a regular basis
  • using curtains or water sprays
  • enclosing conveyors or installing skirts
  • using conveyor belt cleaners
  • enclosing workers from dusty areas and providing clean air
  • using respiratory protection if better controls are not feasible.
 

Some resources to assist you with dust suppression.

 

IHSA Resources

 

Training

IHSA offers the following training programs related to safety in the aggregate industry.

 

Products

IHSA offers the following products related to safety in the aggregate industry.

 

Articles

 

Health & Safety Policies & Procedures

 

Resources

Download the following chapters from IHSA’s Construction Health and Safety Manual (M029):

 

Safety Talks

Conducting a five-minute safety talk is a hands-on way to remind workers that health and safety are important on the job and can help workers recognize and control hazards. Download these talks from IHSA’s Safety Talks (V005) manual:

 

MOL Resources

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