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ESH Manual Page: 10000: Material Handing and Transportation

1.1. Purpose

The Sanford Underground Laboratory at Homestake (hereafter referred to as Sanford Lab or Laboratory) policy on the operation of motor vehicles is in accordance with the South Dakota Codified Laws, Title 32, and Motor Vehicles (here after referred to as SD Vehicle Code). The primary objective of the Lab traffic program is to provide a safe environment for both the driving and pedestrian community.

1.2. Scope This policy applies to all employees, users, visiting scientists, contractors, and guests of the Sanford Laboratory.


2.1. Employees, Users, Visiting Scientists, Contractors, and Guests shall comply with the traffic safety rules contained in this Policy and the SD Vehicle Code. Failure to do so may result in possible disciplinary action.

2.2. Supervisors shall ensure that only authorized personnel use Laboratory-supplied vehicles and that these drivers are reminded to wear seat belts and obey traffic rules whether driving on or off the Sanford Lab campus. It is the responsibility of each Supervisor initiating an activity that presents a temporary obstruction of roadway traffic to see that the special safety provisions identified in section 9.0 are followed. It is the responsibility of supervisors to explain traffic rules to new members of their staff, who might not be familiar with the SD Vehicle Code (e.g., visiting researchers).

2.3. Security has the authority to approach individuals who violate the traffic safety rules and obtain their name and Supervisors name. If this is not possible, they can record the person’s license plate number. This information will be passed on to the appropriate Supervisor or Department Director for possible disciplinary action. Under no circumstance should security engage in high speed pursuit of any kind. Security is also responsible for monitoring the general condition of the Laboratory roadways (including signage and lighting), and reporting problems to the Surface Operations Forman.

2.4. Traffic Safety Subcommittee shall review and recommend changes to this policy through the Sanford Laboratory EHS Safety Committee, to enhance and improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists on the Sanford Laboratory Site (This committee is yet to be established).


Residential Area- means an area occupied primarily by private residents.


4.1. License Requirements

Drivers of official Laboratory vehicles must hold a valid driver license issued by a state of the United States for the class of vehicle that they are authorized to operate. (For information about training for forklift/heavy equipment operation, see Surface Operations Foreman.

4.2. General Traffic Safety Rules

Operators of motorized vehicles and bicycles shall abide by the traffic safety rules contained in the SD Vehicle Code. Motorists must remain on established roadways unless specific authorization is given or is otherwise required for the performance of assigned tasks. Further, motorized vehicles shall only be parked in authorized parking spaces or in safe, graveled, roadside locations that do not impede the flow of traffic or endanger pedestrians.

4.3. Speed Limits As a general rule, the speed limit on Laboratory property is 20 mph, unless posted otherwise. Temporary conditions such as road repair, wet conditions, poor visibility, and pedestrian conditions may require a reduction in speed.

4.4. Safety Belts

In accordance with the South Dakota seat-belt law, all employees riding in Laboratory-furnished vehicles (or in personal vehicles on official Laboratory business) must wear safety belts at all times. The driver must not operate the vehicle until everyone has fastened their seat belts.

4.5. Residential Areas

Current access to the lab requires passing through existing Residential Areas. As children are often present, strict adherence to local speed limits and extreme caution must be taken in these areas at all times.

4.6. Vehicle Use

Use of an official vehicle for personal convenience or benefit constitutes misuse. Employees who misuse vehicles are subject to disciplinary action and financial responsibility for any accident. Further clarification on the use of official vehicles is provided in the employee handbook.

All drivers of Laboratory vehicles are responsible for reporting any vehicle damage or operating deficiency to Security. Failure to report unsafe vehicle conditions can result in an accident and injury of fellow employees.

When parking the vehicle in non-designated parking spaces, where the possibility that the vehicle could roll exists, a chock block shall be placed on the downhill side of any one tire. (A simple test to determine the need for a chock block is to place the vehicle in neutral and see if rolling occurs. Should the vehicle start to roll, the use of a chock block is required.)

4.7. Traffic signals and signs

Traffic signals and signs on the Sanford Laboratory campus shall conform to the State of South Dakotas’ standards for type, size, shape and placement.

4.8. Vehicle Accidents

4.8.1. Accident Reporting

Any accident that fits into the criteria discussed below must be reported to the employee’s supervisor or EHS representative as soon as possible. This is to determined if Drug and Alcohol testing is warranted. Additionally, the driver of any Laboratory vehicle involved in an accident must complete a Laboratory Motor Vehicle Accident Report, (Appendix A), and submit it to his or her supervisor within one work day of the accident. For those accidents involving both a laboratory vehicle and privately owned vehicle, a printed card titled "In Case of Accident" (see appendix B) is kept in each official vehicle to assist in collecting required information. The information on this card will assist the employee in completing the Laboratory Motor Vehicle Accident Report.

Accidents that must be reported include:

a. Accidents that occur on laboratory property, involving either laboratory or employee vehicles. A Laboratory Motor Vehicle Report is not required for accidents involving employee vehicles only.

b. Accidents that occur off laboratory property. If the accident occurs off site, the driver should first report the accident to the local police and then report the accident to his or her Laboratory supervisor. It is good business practice not to admit responsibility for vehicle accidents occurring while on official business.

The Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Department must receive copies of all accident reports and will prepare any additional required reports.

4.8.2. Drug and Alcohol Testing

Drug and Alcohol testing (see section 5.0) will be required if the accident involves: i) loss of life; ii) an injury that requires immediate medical attention away from the accident scene; or iii) if a moving citation was issued or if any of the vehicles involved in the accident had to be towed. The employee’s supervisor (or designee) will determine if testing is required. If unavailable, other members of the management team can assist in making this determination.


Drug and alcohol testing requirements of the Department of Transportation (DOT) are implemented at the Laboratory through the Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy, which is a part of the Laboratory's Employee Handbook. The DOT rules apply to all employees and contract labor personnel who operate a Laboratory owned vehicle.


Some parking spaces are reserved (i.e., handicapped, deliveries only, emergency vehicle, etc.) and shall not be used by others. Motor vehicles (or bicycles) may not be parked in areas that could compromise the access to or use of life safety or emergency equipment (e.g., fire hydrants, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency rescue boxes). Bicycles are prohibited from being parked in building corridors, stairwells, entrances, or exits, or other areas that could interfere with proper access and egress from the Laboratory buildings.


The Laboratory bicycle safety policy, which reminds bicyclists, automobile drivers, and pedestrians to exercise caution while traveling on the Laboratory's steep and winding roads, is outlined below:

  • Although not required by state or local regulations, bicycle riders on Laboratory property are strongly encouraged to wear industry approved bicycle helmets.
  • Bicyclists must obey all SD Vehicle Code (and Laboratory traffic and parking regulations) when riding on Laboratory property. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • The use of flashing rear lights and reflective devices or clothing is strongly encouraged by the Laboratory to improve the visibility of riders on the roadways.

a. Obeying all posted speed limits or the basic speed law, whichever is slower.

b. Obeying all traffic rules and signs.

c. Using a headlamp (white lamp) and rear reflectors during periods of darkness.


Pedestrians are also subject to the SD Vehicle Code. Although they do have the right of way at marked crosswalks and unmarked intersections, they must not move into the paths of moving vehicles so suddenly as to constitute a hazard. At all other points on roadways, pedestrians must give way to vehicles.


9.1. The following safeguards shall be taken during construction or maintenance activities that may affect the flow of traffic on campus roads.

a. Signs shall be posted indicating road work in progress. Reflective signs and/or flashing lights are required for night visibility.

b. Traffic cones shall be set up to divert traffic safely away from or through the work area.

c. A flag person shall be assigned to the area if the work is to be performed in any area where driver visibility is obstructed, e.g., by heavy equipment. The flag person shall wear a hard hat, an orange reflective vest and use an orange flag or hand-held stop/slow sign to direct traffic. In some circumstances, two flag persons may be necessary.

d. The Director of Operations shall be notified in advance so that security crews are aware of the temporary road conditions.

9.2. For impaired roadways (totally blocked):

  • a. The Director of Operations shall be notified at least three days in advance so that appropriate notifications and emergency arrangements can be made for fire and security emergency services.
  • b. “Road Closed” and “Detour” signs shall be posted. Reflective signs and/or flashing lights are required for night visibility.
  • c. The area shall be fully barricaded to prevent inadvertent access.

When traveling to remote areas of the laboratory property, such as the exhaust fans located in Kirk Canyon, or the #5 Shaft located below the Grizzly Gulch Tailing damn, the following precautions must be taken:

  • a. A two-way radio or cell phone must be carried by the employee.
  • b. If not considered routine, the employee must notify supervisor or work lead.
  • c. Care must be taken when driving on winding gravel roads.
  • d. Watch blind corners.
  • e. Beware of adverse road conditions, including mud, washouts, and rock slides.
  • f. If accessing Barrick/Homestake property, ensure proper authorities are notified.

11.1. Standards Traffic Hazards:

  • South Dakota Codified Laws, Title 32, Motor Vehicles
  • CFR 1910, OSHA General Industry Standards
  • 29 CFR 1926, OSHA Construction Industry Standards
  • 49 CFR 40, Procedures for Workplace Drug Testing Programs
  • 49 CFR 382, Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing