Industry collaboration needed to reduce rollovers


The trucking industry and the fire and emergency services need to work closely together to reduce tanker rollovers and act appropriately during an emergency, a bulk tanker emergency response conference was told this week

By Ruza Zivkusic | October 22, 2010

The trucking industry and the fire and emergency services need to work closely together to reduce tanker rollovers and act appropriately during an emergency, a bulk tanker emergency response conference was told this week.

Up to 150 transport and road operators, product owners, equipment manufacturers, insurance sector professional, police and fire personnel came together to share lessons and improve outcomes in emergency response.

The one-day long conference in Melbourne was organised by the National Bulk Tanker Association (NBTA) and the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC) to teach participants how to deal with on-site issues and clean up spills.

Two years in the planning, it is the first of annual series.

Led by speakers from AFAC, NSW Fire Brigade, OAMPS, Cootes Transport, Caltex, FBT Tanswest, TISC, WorkSafe, VicRoads and ARTSA, stakeholders were told to develop a relationship with each other and create an emergency plan that includes safe evacuation, refuge, access for emergency service personnel and to consider environmental protection.

MFB Dangerous Goods Executive Manager Chris Watt says that, when in business, people need to do things right.

"There is a need for industry regulators to have a close look at small operators who on the one hand undercut prices to get competitive advantage for their small company compared with big companies, and on the other hand they cut corners to keep the cost down and may well not be operating in a precise manner,’’ Watt says.

With ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach, safety should be a priority during an incident.

The question of whether compulsory specification of safety equipment should be introduced, such as electronic stability control- a computerised technology that improves the safety of a vehicle’s stability by detecting and minimising skids, was raised.

Cootes Transport Group National Fleet Manager Alan Yates supports the idea, saying if implemented then everyone would be on the same level.

But many companies
see no incentive to adopt it due to extra costs.

"If you can’t afford to buy the truck with the rollover protection with good tyres and proper brakes then don’t be in the business because it’s the dangerous goods you’re carting,’’ Watt adds.

A truck collision on Sydney’s F3 freeway earlier this year, which caused delays for nearly 12 hours, should be a reminder of critical infrastructure needed for trucks delivering dangerous goods.

There is a need for a consistent national approach between all parties to deal with an emergency when shut down, the conference was told.

NBTA Executive Rob Perkins believes not enough is done to develop such a plan.

"F3 is a fundamental piece of road to the city and yet there’s not a proper plan on how to deal with a major incident that shuts it down," Perkins says.

"It just seems happening and they don’t seem to learn about it; you can look at Melbourne, what’s the critical incident plan for Westgate Bridge or the Monash Freeway? When they stop, the city stops."

OAMPS Insurance Brokers National Manager Grant Stillman says his company has viewed 100 rollover incidents in the past 15 years involving dangerous goods. The average cost of a claim is $290,000, he says.

Half of the incidents were committed by drivers with over 10 years’ experience, with 60 percent of them being single vehicle accidents.

There are 7,000 licensed vehicles carrying dangerous goods in Victoria, according to WorkSafe Victoria.

Stakeholders sharing experience of how they deal with emergencies is the key to moving forward, NSW Fire Brigades Chief Superintendent Rob McNeil says.

He believes industry players should undertake a post-incident analysis after events and study what happened.

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook