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Park Brake Safety Advice

A new technical advisory procedure, providing workshops with essential checks to make sure the park brakes on their trucks restrain their trailers safely. This advice has been published by the Australian Trucking Association as part of the Industry Technical Council work in improving safety outcomes in the industry.

 

 

Australian trucks should have park brakes to activate the spring brakes on their trailers. However, the Australian Design Rules allow some overseas models to be imported that park ‘on air’, a less secure method. The ATA first issued a warning about the problem in 2013.

 

 

“In Australia, the standard practice is that trailers are parked using the mechanical force of their spring brakes. Applying the park brake in the cab of a prime mover should apply these spring brakes on all connected trailers,” said Chris Loose, ATA Senior Adviser Engineering.

 

 

“Under the Australian Design Rules, trucks and prime movers that meet the European brake standard, UNECE R13, are deemed to meet the Australian standard as long as they also meet a performance specification. However, some of these units use park brakes that only apply service air to the brakes on connected trailers, rather than spring brakes.

 

 

“This is less safe, because the brakes would release if the air leaked out or a driver accidentally disconnected the air lines in the wrong order. If a trailer is parked on spring brakes, the brakes remain on even if air pressure is lost, the brakes fail to safe.

 

 

“The European standard only requires the brakes to maintain pressure for 15 minutes, because their drivers routinely fit wheel chocks. Because Australian operating practices don’t include the use of wheel chocks in these situations, there’s a real danger that these braking systems could contribute to a trailer rolling away, or its landing legs being damaged.”

 

 

Chris said the advisory procedure, developed by the ITC, provided operators with procedures to help them find out what kind of park brakes were installed in their vehicles.

 

 

“If your heavy vehicle park brake parks trailers ‘on air’, it is important to get advice from a suitably qualified engineering consultant,” said Chris. “Similarly, the ATA recommends that trucking operators should only purchase vehicles where applying the park brake activates its trailers’ spring brakes.”

 

 

The procedures are available for free from the ATA’s online resource library.

 

 

 

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New members for TruckSafe

Another four operators have been announced as members for the TruckSafe accreditation program. TruckSafe says it is proud to welcome CBG Transport (NSW), Transedel (VIC), Simpsons Fuel (VIC) and Lillyvale Livestock Carriers (QLD) as its newest members.

CBG Transport is a local family owned Newcastle business running two trucks, with plans to add a third one in the coming months. Specialising in local liquor deliveries around Lake Macquarie, Director Chad Grintell said customers really valued the TruckSafe accreditation program. Read more

It’s all about high productivity

The National Transport Commission has said productivity will become the main focus for its work over the next four years. A statement released outlined a range of projects designed to boost transport networks. It says it will seek to identify ways to deliver quicker and cheaper road, rail and intermodal networks, particularly for Australia’s freight and logistics industry. This announcement follows the approval by Australia’s transport ministers of anew work program last week. Read more

Getting the infrastructure right

A report by Infrastructure Australia has met with some approval, but questions are being raised about what new infrastructure is needed and how to pay for it. The Australian Infrastructure Audit Report analyses how the population and economy is expected to grow between now and 2031 and outlines possible solutions. Read more

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Airline mismatch alert

The Australian Trucking Association has launched a new series of trucking workshop safety alerts, developed by its Industry Technical Council. The first safety alert has just been published and deals with issues caused by using incompatible airlines and fittings, while the second highlights the dangers of using suzie coils to connect brake airlines across drawbar type couplings.

 

 

“Safety is the major priority for the trucking industry. Preventative maintenance and workshop procedures play a crucial role in making sure the heavy vehicle fleet operates safely on the road,” said Christopher Melham, the ATA CEO. “However, from time to time issues arise that aren’t found in any manual. In one of our first safety alerts, operators are cautioned against using a suzie coil to connect brake airlines across a drawbar coupling.

 

“In the unlikely event of a trailer decoupling on the road it is designed to fail safe, with emergency brakes coming on as soon as the airline connection is cut. Suzie coils meet the technical requirements for this connection. But in an emergency, the coil would stretch significantly before it was pulled apart, delaying the application of emergency brakes.

 

 

“It’s a serious issue with a very simple solution. By distributing these safety alerts, the ATA aims to increase awareness of these considerations, and help trucking operators and workshops ensure that their vehicles are as safe as they can be.”

 

 

The ATA safety alerts explain the urgency of each problem, indicate key personnel who should be made aware of the information, and provide clear follow-up actions to address the issues. New alerts will be released as issues come to the ATA’s attention.

 

 

 

The full text of the alerts can be downloaded here and here.

 

 

 

Review flawed rego charging

There is a general recognition the current way of calculating the road user charge for trucks on Australia’s roads is flawed. In 2014, the government froze the charge for the year after questions were raised about incorrect calculations about the number of trucks on the road. Read more

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New members for Trucksafe board

TruckSafe has appointed Ferdie Kroon and Graham Emery as the newest members of its Board of Management.

Ferdie Kroon is the Risk and Compliance Manager for De Bruyn’s Transport in Tasmania. In addition to TruckSafe, De Bruyn’s has implemented an award-winning all-of-workforce staff development program to build a strong safety culture within its business. Read more

Talking Turkey About Trucking

Communication, communication, communication

Diesel News would like to congratulate Chris Melham on taking over the role of CEO at the Australian Trucking Association. This is not such a big move, physically, for Chris, he has been working in the same building as CEO of NatRoad for a number of years. In this time he has shown his grasp on the issues and an ability to get things done, get issues worked through and bring the trucking industry along with him.

 

In one sense, however, this is a big move. He is no longer a representative of a particular group of individual members all with their own interests and problems. He is now out there representing the trucking industry as a whole, all of us. This is something very different, the problems are bigger and take place at a higher level, it is a step up.

 

Now is the time to really build on the achievements of the ATA, so far in its 25 year history, and take the whole thing to the next level. The ATA is now a well-established lobbying organisation based in its own building in Canberra. With the Minter Ellison building close to being paid off, funds for improved research and policy development should start to come on stream.

 

The essence of how the ATA moves into the future can be boiled down to one thing, communication. It’s about time the trucking industry’s voice was heard at all levels and in all fora. There is no point in being a shrinking violet about this, there are important issues coming up and our voice needs to be clearly heard.

 

Communication is not just about the public presentation of the industry. However, the industry’s voice has been lost many times in the general cacophony around trucking in recent years. The TWU and the NSW RMS have got plenty of airtime, on TV, radio and in the newspapers in recent years, but a clear message from trucking has been missing.

 

We have allowed rogue reporters from TV shows, like A Current Affair, to make outrageous claims and set back the agenda, without any protest from a wronged trucking industry. We have an articulate and plain speaking Chair in Noelene Watson who comes over as forthright and reasonable, sadly unused on the issue.

 

At the same time, the communication needs to be precisely targeted behind closed doors, both in Canberra and the state capitals. The ATA needs to have access throughout the back rooms of Canberra. Perhaps funds freed up by from the HQ building could be used to bring together research to help our politicians introduce legislation which helps trucking, get over the line. At a time of drastic cuts, well funded research will be useful tool in paving the way for reform.

 

Recent years have seen rifts appear as bureaucrats and state governments hamper attempts to get us a genuinely national regulator. An organisation as big as the ATA can get in there and help get recalcitrant nay sayers to reform. It is in the interest of the NTC, the NHVR and all of the industry associations to use coordinated pressure to make progress.

 

There is also communication needed between the ATA and its constituency. Its members are a select band of associations and companies, but its constituency is the broader trucking community. Perhaps there should be more talking directly to truckies and those representing them in different fields. Education about the issues, and the role of the ATA would go a long way to getting the agenda clear.

 

So there it is, only one thing to do, communication!

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M30 refrigerant safety risk

The Industry Technical Council of the Australian Trucking Association warned the trucking industry of safety risks associated with some refrigerants. Chris Loose, ATA Senior Adviser Engineering, said the cheaper gas could lead to disaster when used in vehicle air-conditioning systems.

 

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“Vehicle air-conditioning and refrigeration systems are designed to use specialised automotive refrigerant gases,” said Chris. “These manufacturer-endorsed products have a low fire risk, and newer products have been formulated to have a reduced environmental footprint.

 

“However, some after-market repairers will ‘re-gas’ refrigeration systems using cheaper, hydrocarbon-based refrigerant gases, often sold as M30. These hydrocarbon gases are highly flammable, and pose a significant safety risk in these systems. In one case, an Australian heavy vehicle driver suffered burns after the re-gassed air-conditioning system in his truck ignited.

 

“To our knowledge, no heavy vehicle in Australia has ever been designed to use these gases. Vehicle owners using these businesses may not even be informed that their system is being re-gassed using M30 rather than the recommended refrigerants. No matter the cost saving, these gases are not worth the risk.”

 

The ITC recommends operators exercise caution with any cut-price re-gassing service, and ensure all air-conditioning and refrigeration systems in their fleet use the manufacturer’s recommended refrigerant gas product.

Talking Turkey About Trucking

Dreaming of the grand final

It’s like waking up on the morning after losing a grand final. Your team made it all of the way to the big day and then messed up, going down meekly to the opposition. There’s a blame game to be had, if you want to take it out on somebody, and then there’s just crying in your beer. Read more