Transporting Dangerous Goods Port Botany – Do not blame the driver: a systems analysis of the cases of road freight crashes

This recent study on road freight transport:  Do not blame the driver:  a systems analysis of the cases of road freight crashes  from Dr Sharon Newnam and Dr Natassia Goode  finds that the complex system of factors that interact to generate hazardous situations and unsafe driver behaviours has largely been ignored.  Rather than blaming the driver regulators need to look at a range of actors, including themselves.

Earlier this year RMS and local Police carried our a joint operation at Port Botany against non-complying heavy vehicles.  As  result there were 28 infringements issues against 21 truck drivers/owners.

During this time officers inspected a truck conveying full and empty LPG cylinders, finding that the brake pedal was able to be pushed by hand to the floor, and numerous cylinders not secured. This truck also did not carry a safety kit or emergency procedure guides, as is prescribed by vehicles conveying dangerous goods.


MEDIA RELEASE  Wednesday, 08 July 2015 04:53:20 PM

Joint traffic taskforce – Focusing on heavy vehicle Dangerous Goods loading and transport

Officers from the Joint Traffic Taskforce, consisting of NSW Police Force Traffic & Highway Patrol Command officers working alongside Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) Inspectors have focussed on the dangerous goods transport sector over the last two days.

On Tuesday (July 7 2015), officers staged an operation at the RMS Heavy Vehicle Safety Station at Port Botany, where 21 trucks and trailers were inspected, resulting in 28 infringements being issued for various load, defects, and dangerous goods compliance issues.

During this time officers inspected a truck conveying full and empty LPG cylinders, finding that the brake pedal was able to be pushed by hand to the floor, and numerous cylinders not secured. This truck also did not carry a safety kit or emergency procedure guides, as is prescribed by vehicles conveying dangerous goods.

Another truck, loaded with pallets of dangerous goods and corrosives were found to have been poorly restrained, which had led to the load shifting. This truck also did not have the correct signage for the load, had an incorrect load manifest, no emergency procedures guide or personal protection equipment. Further inquiries identified that the driver of this vehicle was not trained to convey dangerous goods.

On Wednesday (July 8 2015), officers attended a distribution centre in southwest Sydney, inspecting trucks that were departing with goods for distribution, and arriving to be unloaded.

Officers inspected 80 trucks and trailers, issuing 28 defect notices for 128 faults such as ancillary equipment, body and chassis, wheels and tyres, brakes oil and fuel leaks, along with other matters that will require rectification.

Seven trucks, carrying dangerous goods, were found to be not carrying a ‘Dangerous Goods’ placard and a further six trucks were found to be leaving the site with loads of dangerous goods not properly restrained or overloaded, and were sent back to the facility for load correction.

The driver of a B-double truck, fully loaded from Victoria, was allegedly found to be driving whilst disqualified until 2022, without an alcohol interlock as prescribed in Victoria, and was later arrested for an outstanding warrant in Queensland along with a number of fatigue and work diary issues. The 35-year-old from Victoria was bail refused to appear at the Liverpool Local Court on Thursday 9 July 2015.

From 71 random breath and drug tests, one driver tested positive to methamphetamine, and was also found to be driving whilst disqualified.

Five Engine Control Modules (ECM) were downloaded during the operation, revealing two trucks with tampered speed limiters, allowing speeds over 100kph. Both trucks were defected and grounded pending immediate rectification. Officers also issued 31 infringements and 12 charges relative to licence and registration, load, defects, fatigue, work diary and other issues.

Senior police and RMS officers later met with the managers of the site involved in today’s operation to discuss these findings, and will continue working with the company involved to mitigate the risks identified.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command said it was simply not good enough that the loading and transportation of Dangerous Goods was being managed so poorly on our roads.

“The goods are dangerous for obvious reasons, in the event of a crash of any sort, there will be significant safety risks for all involved.”

“Dangerous goods need to be managed and transported to strict standards, for the protection of not only those involved in conveying the load, but also other road users.”

“Those not displaying proper Dangerous Goods placards create significant issues for Fire & Rescue NSW and the Rural Fire Service, who are challenged with providing an emergency response to such crashes on our roads, which puts the safety of those officers and others nearby at great risk.”

“Joint Traffic Taskforce Operations between 2012 and 2014 have assisted with a 14% reduction in heavy vehicle fatal crashes, and a 24% reduction in related deaths. Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, working with Roads and Maritime will continue to rigorously enforce heavy vehicle compliance in NSW to bring these sad statistics down even further.”

“Whilst our joint enforcement programs will continue, those involved in the loading and transport of Dangerous Goods must be compliant to assist us in driving down the road toll.”

Roads and Maritime Services General Manager of Compliance Operations Paul Endycott said the agency and New South Wales Police Force have been very clear to industry about non-compliance with heavy vehicle laws.

The focus of the operation is distribution centres, to ensure any place where heavy vehicles are loaded or unloaded with any type of goods or freight anywhere in NSW are aware of their responsibilities and are meeting them. The level of non-compliance detected at these places is concerning. Off road parties such as large distribution centres must take responsibility for ensuring every truck that leaves their docks is fully compliant.

“Of particular interest are the decisions by executives of the businesses that drive the need to obtain an unfair commercial advantage at the cost of good and compliant businesses. The message is clear you must lift your game and take responsibility, not leave it to these operators to shoulder all the compliance burden. These operations will continue until this culture of noncompliance and unsafe practices are driven from the industry. Chain of responsibility investigations from today’s operation will continue,” Mr Endycott said.

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