Chain of responsibility issues continue to dog the transport industry. As a review of the COR rules, their enforcement and their remit is being undertaken by the National Transport Commission is taking place, the trucking industry has to cope with the current regime, warts and all. Read more
The National Transport Commission is launching a review of the medical standards applied to truck drivers to ensure they reflect current medical knowledge. The last review into standards was published in 2012 and NTC CEO Paul Retter said he reckons it is time to look at the subject again.
“We regularly review the medical standards to make sure they are up to date with the latest medical evidence and reflect the needs of drivers and safety workers,” said Retter. “This review will measure and analyse any risks that people with certain medical conditions might pose to the safety of our transport networks, but it will be a balanced approach that takes people’s transport needs into consideration.
“We think the current guidelines are working well but it pays to check that view against the latest evidence, particularly when community safety could be affected.”
The NTC will be getting feedback from a range of stakeholders in the next year to assess the need for or impact of any changes to the standards. They are, currently, tendering for interested parties to help conduct this review, a consultant with medical expertise who can help liaise with the interested parties.
The results of the review are likely to affect the way rules are enforced on drivers in the industry. Anyone working in the trucking industry wishing to get involved and keep an interest in the review can get more information from the NTC website.
“Ensuring our drivers are healthy and well is a top priority for industry,” said Noelene Watson, ATA Chair, after the review was announced. “Heavy vehicle drivers have a demanding job, and ensuring their medical needs are met is essential for both safety and staff wellbeing., but the current commercial driver health standards lack effective screening tests for major health issues such as sleep apnoea and diabetes.
“Recent studies have estimated that more than 25 per cent of long distance truck drivers may have undiagnosed sleep apnoea. We’ve also had feedback from operators through our Trucking Australia open forum, where attendees called for the ATA to promote healthier driver lifestyles and seek better medical standards. We responded by developing a new series of driver health fact sheets, with the first released on 3 October.
“We were also charged with working to have the standards changed so drivers sent for medical tests can keep driving until the results are assessed. The ATA will work closely with the NTC as the review progresses, and press for medical standards that are both effective and fair.”
The upcoming election in Victoria is creating uncertainty for the transport industry as a major infrastructure improvement in the city is under threat. Whether the new government will follow through with the planned East/West link is in the balance with polls unclear as to the probable result of November’s state election. Read more
The Chain of Responsibility and Heavy Vehicle Safety Conference, supported by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Association (CILTA), will be taking place on December 3-4. This discussion comes at the end of the year during which the National Heavy Vehicle Law rolled out, with changes in standards, fatigue management and chain of responsibility. Read more
At the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) Awards night a celebration of trucking in Queensland saw a wide range of individuals and operators receiving honours.
An operator commented to me this week about how he thought the trucking industry was ready for the future, but his customers weren’t. They still expect the world to go on as it has in the past, with cheap rates and operators queueing up for their work and being as flexible as possible to keep the work when they get it. Read more
The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has announced the three finalists for the 2014 Craig Roseneder Award. This is an award recognising technical and maintenance excellence in the workshop by an individual and presented at the Awards Dinner during the ATA Technical and Maintenance Conference (TMC).
“Safety and preventative maintenance are top priorities for the industry,” said Noelene Watson, ATA Chair. “So it’s essential for operators to have people in their workshop who go the extra mile and think of a better way to do things in the future. This year’s finalists for the Craig Roseneder award do just that, having demonstrated an above-and-beyond approach to vehicle and workshop safety.”
The finalists are:
Laeton Hardy who works for Hardy’s Haulage, Cudgera Creek, NSW. He grew up around trucks and started as an apprentice mechanic at Hardy’s Haulage straight after finishing year 10. Laeton is now the company’s General Manager and Workshop Manager, insisting on the highest technical and maintenance standards, with new equipment undergoing up to three weeks of improvements, including the installation of safety steps before a vehicle enters service.
According to the citation, Laeton’s expertise means he is also able to offer insightful suggestions to his equipment suppliers and other transport operators. A number of his proposals have become standard or optional across the Kenworth range, most notably, his proposal that all electrical relays and circuit breakers should be relocated to one central and easily accessible location behind the dash in the cab.
Glenn Griffiths works for Ron Finemore Transport, Wodonga, Victoria as the Fleet Maintenance Manager for Ron Finemore Transport. He manages Ron Finemore workshops in both Orange and Wodonga. In this role, he is responsible for developing maintenance programs and delivering them to a fleet of 250 prime movers and 450 trailers.
The citation says Glenn continually challenges the safety status quo, developing new equipment such as fifth wheel coupling aids and non-slip access ladder covers to reduce driver injury rates. He also instigated the ‘Finemore Fitness’ program, providing subsidised health club membership to employees to help improve staff health and reduce absenteeism. Glenn is dedicated to training the younger generation, with four apprentices currently learning the trade under his guidance.
Damien Allison works for De Bruyn’s Transport, Burnie in Tasmania and started as an apprentice more than 20 years ago. He has risen through the ranks and was promoted to Maintenance Manager in 2005, responsible for all maintenance to the diverse De Bruyn’s fleet, which includes 113 powered vehicles, 130 trailers, forklifts, light vehicles and a 500 tonne capacity fish feed supply vessel.
In the citation it is said, Damien has worked diligently to introduce standardisation and improved procedures within the fleet, and has implemented a number of safe work measures within the workshop to reduce incident and injury rates. He is a strong supporter of the apprenticeship program, and many of his apprentices choose to stay with De Bruyn’s after finishing their training. Under his stewardship, 12 warehousing trainees and 14 workshop apprentices have completed their qualifications, with many also excelling in the National World Skills competition. Damien is an active member of his local community, gaining life membership to Apex Australia in 2012 after 17 years of service with the organisation.
The winner will be announced on October 28 at the Castrol Vecton Awards Dinner as part of the ATA/ARTSA Paccar and Dealer TMC. Courtesy of award sponsor Castol Vecton, the winner will receive a trip to the American Trucking Associations’ 2015 Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition in Nashville, Tennessee and $1,500 in spending money. The winner will also receive complimentary registration to TMC 2015.
A new driver health initiative is releasing the first in a series of health fact sheets. The first, developed by the Sleep Health Foundation in partnership with the ATA, focuses on Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
This is a condition which affects some 40 per cent of Australia’s long distance truck drivers. OSA causes the soft tissues of the throat to close or partially block the airway during sleep, preventing normal breathing and forcing sufferers to wake multiple times during the night.
“Sleep apnoea has a serious impact on every aspect of a sufferer’s life. However, OSA is completely treatable. There’s no reason to suffer in silence,” said Professor Doug McEvoy from the Sleep Health Foundation.“This week is national Sleep Awareness Week, the perfect time to focus on making sure that you are getting the healthy rest you need.
“We are delighted to partner with the trucking industry for this important awareness initiative, and strongly encourage trucking operators to use these sheets to help improve the health and wellbeing of their workforce.”
Truck drivers need to ask themselves three simple questions:
- Do you snore heavily, or wake up gasping or choking during the night?
- Do you regularly wake up with a headache or feeling tired?
- Is it hard for you to keep your eyes open at the end of the day?
If the answer is yes, then drivers are advised to speak to their GP to assess their condition.
The fact sheets have been designed so truck operators can use them as the basis of a staff briefing or toolbox talk, as well as printing them for the staff noticeboard. This is the first of a series of fact sheets which will be released to ATA members throughout the year.
Anyone interested in getting hold of one of these sheets will need to contact their ATA member association for more information.
Sometimes it is just choosing your battles and the timing of them which achieves results. Getting the target or the timing wrong and you send the incorrect message and miss your target. The submission by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) to the joint National Transport Commission/National Heavy Vehicle Regulator heavy vehicle roadworthiness review sets out to attack a direct competitor, sending out the wrong message, if progress is the aim. Read more
Some semblance of rationality arrives in vehicle mass measurement with the introduction, this week, of the very clumsily titled ‘1 tonne Mass Transfer Allowance’ (1TMTA). The new rule means a certain amount of leeway is given to operators who may overload one axle group, as long as overall mass allowances are not exceeded.
The floating tonne means a truck may go up to one tonne over the 20 tonne mass limit allowed for a triaxle group as long as another group are under the 20 tonne limit by the same amount. This will ensure difficult to judge loads across triaxle and drive axles will be OK as long as the overload on a group is less than one tonne.
The new rule only applies at GML, the base standard for vehicle loading, and not CML or HML, which already have higher mass allowances. Vehicles running on permits or the Performance Based Standards scheme are also excluded from the new allowance.
So far, the new entitlement is only available in the Eastern half of Australia. It is available on all routes in Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, but only on specified routes in Queensland, see the TMR website for specifics.
A straightforward guide to the changes is available from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s website. There are a number of simple diagrams to show just how the new system will work in relation to different axle weights.