Thorough driver training at Boral

By: Greg Bush, Photography by: Greg Bush

One of Boral's Sydney-based driver trainers talks about the process for training new recruits into the company's system

Thorough driver training at Boral
Boral driver trainer Peter Goonan

Boral Transport had a good representation at the recent Penrith Working Truck Show, not only with the number of trucks on show, but also the drivers and their families.

With a barbecue set up between their line-up of various makes and models, March 31 turned out to be a social event for the Boral team.

Owner//Driver caught up with Peter Goonan, one of Boral’s long standing employees. Peter has been with Boral for around 30 years, driving single trailers, doubles and working rotating shifts. However, for the past 12 or more his role has switched to driver training, although he says he still takes a B-double out for a run occasionally.

Peter is pleased with Boral’s recruits coming through, although enticing new blood to the industry remains a problem.

"Yeah, it’s very tough. We’ve had one or two and they’ve been very good and switched on young blokes who have driven trucks since they were at the farm and have come up through the smaller stuff.

"We’ve had a lot of Cootes drivers come over and they’re well informed on safety.

"We’ve only had one or two blokes that don’t make the criteria and they’re a little bit lax on the operation and that type of thing, but generally overall once they get in a good safe routine and the procedure, they’re pretty good with the trucks."

It’s a lengthy recruitment process a Boral for new drivers, starting off with two solid days on theory and safety before they hit the road.

"The main thing is about safety," Peter says. "We go out with the buddy system for two to three weeks with one of the experienced drivers.

"And when they’re happy with do a final assessment, and then we bring them back in after three or four months and do another assessment with them to make sure they’re all compliant and happy and they’re in the right procedures.

"We usually start them off in the singles, whether they’re double drivers or not, and then they get to go to all the loading points, doing inductions up at the power stations."

Peter says Macks with automated transmissions make up the majority of the Boral fleet – Granites, Tridents and a couple of Super-Liners. However, there was a smart-looking 500hp Volvo FM on show at Penrith.

"The Volvos are very comfortable and they’ve proven to be very successful around the tight plants, being a cab-over," Peter says. "They have more manoeuvrability and are a lot safer overall."

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