“About 65 industry representatives attended the workshop on Wednesday, October 24, which was held in conjunction with NSW Police and Sydney Ports to promote safe transport of road container freight,” RMS director customer and compliance Peter Wells said. “Raising awareness about the need for better load restraint of the container and its contents, speed limiters, speed compliance and fatigue management were key discussions at the workshop.
“The industry was asked to recognise the importance of all participants in the chain of responsibility playing their part in the safe loading of containers and maintenance of roadworthy vehicles.
“Heavy vehicle drivers and vehicle owners themselves are badly affected by incidents involving containers and should be working with RMS and NSW Police to ensure greater levels of compliance from others in the chain of responsibility.”
NSW Police also addressed the forum about their ongoing enforcement operations and the prevalence of heavy vehicle operators driving under the influence of illicit drugs.
“One of the key aims of the workshop was to change the apparent industry culture which believes it is safe to leave loads unrestrained in containers,” Wells continued. “The dramatic and costly result of such an incident was demonstrated in July when a container carrying unrestrained scrap metal fell from a truck spewing more than nine tonnes of rolled wire on to the road and causing significant damage to Tom Uglys Bridge in southern Sydney.”
Operation Steel was initiated after several safety incidents and fatalities on the roads. The operation found a concerning level of non-compliance in the industry with both containers and the heavy vehicles carrying them.
During Operation Steel RMS inspectors found trucks leaving Port Botany with unsecured loads and in one instance a container truck had its load secured by just one locking pin, instead of the four required.
“It was also very disappointing to find defect rates above 40 percent during the operation, demonstrating there is not enough professionalism and respect for basic safety and the law,” Peter Wells continued. “All owners need to ensure they maintain their trucks in good condition as required by law and RMS and Police will increase their enforcement focus until there is a strong fall in this defect rate.
“The industry needs to address its culture of tolerating non compliance among some operators and we thank those operators who are taking a leadership role in engaging on this important issue.”