Working Near Slopes in Quarries

By on August 16, 2016

The latest Safety Alert provided by WorkSafe Victoria. 

This alert highlights the risk of working near the crest and toes of slopes in quarries and provides advice on how to reduce the risk of slope failure.

In a recent incident, a fatality occurred at a quarry when a dump truck was tipping waste material over the crest of a dump head and the slope failed.

Tipping off or extracting rock, sand, or gravel from or in the vicinity of a slope may put employees or independent contractors at risk of:

  •  Falling from the crest of the slope;
  • Being engulfed by materials from sliding, collapsing or subsiding slopes being struck by falling materials or plant.

Geotech-NoteControl measures
Risks associated with working near the crest and toes of slopes in quarries can be controlled by:

  • Conducting geotechnical stability assessments of slopes, including pit operating faces, overburden faces, overburden dumps, product stockpiles, and tailing dam embankments;
  • Providing employees and independent contractors with information, instruction, training or supervision to enable them to perform their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health and safety;
  • Ensuring that safe systems of work are in place and include:
    > Loading and unloading material near slope faces;
    > Working near slope faces (eg preparing shots), and;
    > Conducting regular visual inspections, particularly after heavy rain events, for signs of geotechnical hazards (for example, cracks in the slope face).
Figure 1: quarry slope failure

Figure 1: quarry slope failure

Further information
Contact the WorkSafe Victoria Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 or go to

WorkSafe Victoria publications:
Preventing falls from quarry faces
Your health and safety guide to quarries
Mobile plant overturns
Click here for link.

Other Publications:
Construction Materials Processors Association guidelines,  Working Safely with Geotechnical Risk in Quarries
Click here for link.

Contact Details
Call us on: 1800 136 089
Email us at:
For more information on occupational health and safety, go to WorkSafe’s website:

DISCLAIMER: This Alert contains information following WorkSafe’s inquiries into the incident at the date of this report. The information contained in this report does not necessarily reflect the final outcome of WorkSafe’s action with respect to this incident. WorkSafe does not warrant the information in this report is complete or up-to-date, and does not accept any liability to any person for the information in this report, or its use.


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