Close call for Belly-Dump Operator

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A member company experienced a close call when a belly-dump operator became trapped in the bed of his truck while his vehicle was parked in a loading area.

The operator had been hauling a mixed product that did not have a consistent size, and one of the larger rocks was too big to pass through the belly gate and became stuck. The operator parked the truck in an area adjacent to the loading area. He then entered the bed of the truck to attempt to pry the rock back into the hopper. Proper lockout procedures had not been followed and the gate was still under closing tension; as he removed the rock, the closing tension of the doors caught his hand and trapped him inside the bed. 

Fortunately the quarry loading operator witnessed the truck operator entering the bed of the truck, and went to check on the situation. Within a few minutes workers released the operator’s hand and only minor injuries were sustained.


Companies should have lockout and tag program in place that includes:

  • An inventory of tasks that require lockout
  • Specific lockout procedure for each piece of equipment
  • Re-fresher training for employees on lockout and tag procedures
  • Supervisor follow-up to ensure practices are being followed

Worksites with loading areas should also have a program in place to ensure safe loading. As a minimum, the program should include:

  • Procedures for determining when truck beds are safe to load
  • Procedures for handling maintenance issues with load-haul trucks;  the member company has expanded its policies to ensure a minimum of two people are involved with removing rocks lodged in belly doors 


Section 185 of Regulation 854, Mines and Mining Plants, outlines the requirements for machine guarding and tagging out.