Queensland Parliament’s Transportation and Utilities Committee is seeking submissions on amendments to national heavy vehicle and rail safety laws.

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Queensland Parliament’s Transportation and Utilities Committee is seeking submissions on amendments to national heavy vehicle and rail safety laws.

While part of the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 relates to the taxi industry, the heavy vehicle aspect focuses on Chain of Responsibility (COR).

Queensland is the host jurisdiction for this national law.

The amendment aims to “implement reforms for the national heavy vehicle industry to better align the align the obligations of chain of responsibility parties and executive officers with national safety laws, improve compliance and simplify enforcements as well as making a number of minor amendments to improve administration of the law”.

Queensland transport minister Stirling Hinchliffe tells state parliament that the changes haveTransport and Infrastructure Council backing following “extensive” National Transport Commission (NTC) consultation “with state and territory transport authorities, police agencies and heavy vehicle industry representatives”.

Long expected, the changes would introduce a positive duty on COR parties and executive officers to ensure the safety of their operations.

Each party in the chain of responsibility would have a primary duty of care, so far as reasonably practicable, to ensure the safety of their transport activities.

In addition, executive officers are required to exercise due diligence to ensure their operations comply with this primary duty.

“In effect, chain-of-responsibility parties must ensure that their conduct does not cause or encourage drivers, or another person, to contravene the national law or to exceed a speed limit,” Hinchliffe says.

“While terms and concepts such as ‘reasonably practicable’ and ‘due diligence’ are new to the national law, they are familiar to transport operators.

“The proposed amendments act to harmonise safety initiatives within the national law with the national model Work Health and Safety Act by using the same framework and principles.”

He casts the measures as leading to a regulatory burden reduction.

“By replacing the current standard of ‘all reasonable steps’ and the reasonable steps defence with the ‘so far as reasonably practicable’ standard, transport operators will be able to manage all their heavy vehicle safety obligations under one framework,” Hinchliffe says.

“By reframing the chain-of-responsibility provisions in the national law to reflect a principles based approach, the efforts of each relevant party can be focused on proactively identifying and managing safety risks in a way that best meets their individual business needs and allows for innovative responses to safety concerns.”

The often criticised reverse onus of proof will end but roadworthiness and vehicle standards will become part of the primary duty of care and enforceable undertakings will be introduced as an alternative to prosecution for certain offences.

Such measures could include regular internal audits, training for managers and staff, or future reporting requirements to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

Other changes include self-clearing defect notices and failure to display accreditation labels offences.

“The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator will also be authorised to make minor administrative amendments to road access statutory instruments without the requirement to seek additional road manager consent,” Hinchliffe says.

“In addition, responsible ministers, under certain circumstances, may delegate their approval powers to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Board to facilitate the making of minor amendments to guidelines and statutory approvals.”

Comprehensive guidelines will be formulated.

Explanatory notes can be found here.

The Rail Safety National Law Bill aims to apply the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) as the law of Queensland and establish the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) as the rail safety regulator in Queensland.

This Bill proposes to:

  • apply the RSNL, as modified by the Bill, as a law of Queensland
  • repeal the Transport (Rail Safety) Act 2010
  • define a number of terms to aid in the interpretation of the Rail Safety National Lawin the Queensland context
  • provide for drug and alcohol testing of rail safety workers using procedures that are consistent with the procedures used by the police under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995
  • provide transitional arrangements.

Submissions can be sent to [email protected]

For More Information on Chain of Responsibility Training, Audits and COR Management Plans go to www.coraustralia.com

Brisbane Traffic: Fatal Bruce Highway on-ramp truck crash

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Brisbane Traffic: Fatal Bruce Highway on-ramp truck crash

The truck driver in his 30s died when his semi-trailer rolled at North Lakes on the Anzac Avenue on-ramp to the Bruce Highway just before 2.30am.


TOLL Petrol tanker crash, rollover on Calder Freeway

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Despite years of Chain of Responsibility Laws and the work of the NTC and the NHVR, governments have not addressed this issue.  The Toll, Calder Highway deaths and injuries, following the Cootes, Mona Vale deaths and injuries, are just two examples of unnecessary exposure of the public to unacceptable risks.  The fuel not igniting saved this from being a national disaster greater than Cootes. The contamination of the waterway with fuel and fire suppression material is also unacceptable.

Emergency services were called to the Calder Freeway on Tuesday when the Toll petrol tanker travelling outbound collided with a number of vehicles.   The truck has then struck a number of other cars.  One car was crushed under the truck during the incident and investigators are still in the process of determining how many people were in that vehicle, however at least one person has been confirmed deceased.  Six others were transported to hospital with injuries including the truck driver.

Being the “norm” does not make it acceptable for exposure of people to certain death.  This is not required.  This is not effective or efficient.  This is illogical conduct at 8AM for a weekday morning to have a Petrol Tanker in peak traffic.

While supply of petrol is essential, there is no basis for peak hour transport of fuel.

Peak hour traffic correlates with:

–               Higher number of vehicles on the road

–               Greater number of incidents per hour than other times of the day

–               Greater congestion, with more stop start traffic, especially at on/off ramps

All factors making it certain for a city peak hour collision involving a petrol tanker.

Petrol Tankers are inherently dangerous and bring with them hazards of:

–               Multiple deaths (collision and fire)

–               Multiple injuries (collision and fire)

–               Escape of fuel into the environment and potential fire

–               Potential for immolation and damage to public infrastructure

–               A broader impact than conventional heavy vehicles

All factors having catastrophic consequences for petrol tanker collisions.

Managing this certain and catastrophic consequence is left to the effectiveness of heavy vehicle drivers. This simplistic approach can be further compromised by:

–               Lack of maintenance and/or defective equipment

–               Tired driver or stressed driver (even if complying with fatigue rules)

–               Poor or changed driving conditions

–               Conduct of other road users and extra congestion

Directors and Executives who expose the public to certain death in peak periods should assess the risk and whether they are breaking not only COR Laws but also the WHS Laws in failing to eliminate the hazard.

Directors and Executives could potentially be held directly and personally liable under WHS for peak hour petrol tanker incidents, especially given the limited practical reach of the NHV law in the Cootes Mona Vale deaths.

TWU calls on retailers to do better on chain of responsibility

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Serious compliance shortcomings at a major Coles distribution centre show retailers are not doing enough to meet their chain of responsibility obligations, according to the Transport Workers Union (TWU).

TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon has seized upon the findings of last week’s inspection of Coles’ Eastern Creek centre to demand the big end of the supply chain lift its game on heavy vehicle compliance.

The Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and New South Wales Police uncovered defective trucks, load restraint breaches and drivers with drugs in their systems.

“This raid by the NSW RMS shows the scale of the problem in our retail supply chain,” Sheldon says.

“Wealthy retailers and other clients need to take responsibility for safety in transport by ensuring the contracts they give out allow operators and owner drivers to cover their entire costs. This is clearly not happening at the moment, which is why high numbers of truck defects and problems with load restraints have been discovered.”

A statement from Coles, however, says the company is serious about meeting its obligations.

“Coles takes road safety and its chain of responsibility obligations very seriously and always responds immediately to any concerns raised by authorities or the companies we partner with,” a company spokesperson says.

Yesterday’s operation was the third Coles distribution centre inspected in 18 months, and the RMS says it is continuing to see poor safety practices.

RMS director of safety and compliance Peter Wells says “rapid cultural change” is needed within Coles’ ranks.

Sheldon says retailers need to also engage with unions and the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) to ensure transport companies and their drivers receive sustainable rates so they can do their jobs safely.

“If this does not happen the pressure will continue. Trucks and drivers will be sweated to the point of putting all road users at risk,” he says.


Report suggests that improving road access for heavy vehicles can significantly cut down red tape

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The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) supports New South Wales government’s plan to move forth with council amalgamations that it hopes will improve the efficiency of the state’s supply chain by streamlining delivery of freight to local areas.

Council amalgamations will also improve the ‘delivery of major infrastructure, achieve more efficient service delivery and help to better integrate strategic planning and policy’

ALC managing director Michael Kilgariff says the NSW freight task is expected to double in size by 2031 to about 800 million tonnes and “it is imperative NSW’s supply chains are operating at peak efficiency to ensure freight can be delivered efficiency, reliably and safely”.

The logistics industry had earlier raised its concerns to the Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) about councils either not having the capacity to make timely decisions on heavy vehicle road access, or being too conservative during decision-making by prioritising asset protection over productivity considerations.

“Because of a lack of size, many local government areas do not have the skills and resources, or alternatively, do not prioritise the task of undertaking, or obtaining, the engineering assessments necessary to make informed road access decisions,” Kilgariff says.

“All too often, and to the frustration of industry, councils take different approaches to such things as ‘last mile’ access, the loading and unloading of goods, delivery curfews and other restrictions which impact on the efficient movement of freight.

“Merging councils would not only bring with it economies of scale, it would underpin better decision making on such matters as road access decisions, particularly as they related to ‘first and last mile’ issues, as well as planning and curfews,” Kilgariff says.

The move is also expected to improve the “delivery of major infrastructure, achieve more efficient service delivery and help to better integrate strategic planning and policy”.

Reports suggest that improved freight efficiency also indirectly benefits the consumers because it reduces the costs of transportation of goods to supermarkets, which in turn lowers the price of products.

An earlier study conducted by the IPART estimated that heavy vehicle access restrictions cost $366 million per year in NSW and improving road access for heavy vehicles can reduce red tape by $59.2 million per year.

ACIL Allen, the largest Australian-owned, independent, economic, public policy, and public affairs management consulting firm in the country, published a similar view in a recent report entitled The Economic Significance of the Australian Logistics Industry.

The ACIL Allen study indicates that an annual 1 per cent improvement in productivity in the logistics industry can boost the GDP by $2 billion.

Dangerous Good Training – Here’s Why This is Important if You Own or Hold a Position of Responsibility in a Company

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At the heart of the Work Health and Safety (or WHS) legislation is the ‘duty of care’ which means that we all have to take reasonable care to make sure our actions (the things we do) or our inactions (the things we don’t do) do not negatively Dangerous Goods Australian Standards impact others or cause them harm.

Under the legislation, the term ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ or ‘PCBU’ is a more comprehensive term than ‘employer’. The PCBU has a responsibility to manage the risks from all dangerous goods and hazardous materials in the workplace. This includes providing instruction, training and information. The term ‘worker’ refers to anyone carrying out work for a PCBU. As a worker, you must follow all workplace procedures to protect yourself and others from dangerous goods and hazardous substances. There are a range of additional specific laws, regulations and codes of practice that apply to dangerous goods or hazardous substances in the workplace.

Currently there are two introductory Dangerous Goods & Hazardous Substances courses including:

  • Introduction to Dangerous Goods & Hazardous Substances (Level 1)
  • Dangerous Goods & Hazardous Substances – Distribution & Receiving (Level 2)

Our range of convenient course delivery methods means we can provide these courses to your workers how and when you want to!

Go to https://www.dangerousgoodstrainingcourseonline.com.au/ to find out more.

Chain of Responsibility versus WHS……. the real facts.

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A landmark work health and safety (WHS) ruling continues to have prosecutors guessing a Clayton Utz lawyer notes.

One of the more recent outings, Archer v Simon Transport Pty Ltd, hinged on this very case, senior associate Hilary Searing says.

The 2010 Kirk v Industrial Court of NSW findings underlined that prosecution of alleged breaches of WHS requirements must identify what measures an employer or operator could have taken but did not take to avoid such an incident.

“For some time since Kirk, prosecutors have grappled with the necessary level of detail required in a charge,” Searing writes in an advisory.

And those in the Queensland District Court failed to arrive at an effective remedy in the Kevin Archer case.

In the Simon case, the Queensland WHS Regulator alleged the company breached its statutory duty of care when a worker was injured while unloading one of its trucks at a customer’s work premises.

Searing notes that in its complaint, the Regulator specified that Simon Transport failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of its worker by failing to:

  • develop and implement adequate work procedures to manage the hazards for sole drivers
  • develop safe work procedures for the unloading of bulk rolls of electrical cable at a client’s premises
  • undertake any, or any adequate, risk assessment for this unloading in accordance with the Code of Practice How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks 2011
  • develop any , or any adequate safe systems of work in accordance with the Plant Code of Practice 2005
  • provide a standard of work health and safety which was the same or higher than the relevant Codes.

It further stated that Simon Transport could have implemented a number of control measures to prevent the situation, essentially by repeating the allegations listed in the paragraph above.

But the Magistrate’s Court struck out the complaint in May because it failed to sufficiently set out the legal nature of the offence and its essential factual ingredients.

The Regulator appealed the decision.

But District Court judge Koppenol noted that the regulator’s complaint merely recited the alleged failures rather than identifying how the relevant work procedures, standards and systems fell short of what was alleged to have been reasonably practicable.

Judge Koppenol also said that the specified control measures did not “cure those deficiencies or provide any meaningful particularisation” and instead served to repeat the alleged failures listed in the complaint.

“This reaffirms the need for prosecuting authorities to sufficiently identify the nature of the offence and how the employer fell short of the expected standard and will allow employers to be in a better decision to defend these matters by knowing exactly where it is alleged they fell down in their duty of care,” Searing says.

“The employer can then attempt to satisfy the Court that it was not reasonably practicable to take the identified measure in question, as opposed to having to establish that there were no reasonably practicable measures of any kind which could have addressed the risk (as has previously been necessary with the way that complaints were framed).”

She sets out the following checklist for employers faced with such a prosecution to bear in mind:

  • a defendant is entitled to be told not only of the legal nature of the offence which is charged, but also of the particular act, matter or thing alleged as the foundation of the charge
  • the complaint must inform the court of the particular offence with which it is required to deal and provide the accused with the substance of the charge which he or she is called upon to meet
  • the charge “must at least condescend to identifying the essential factual ingredients of the actual offence”
  • a complaint must specify “the time, place and manner of the defendant’s acts or omissions”
  • the complaint must identify the measures which should have been taken. If there is or was a risk, the question is: what action on the part of the employer was or is required to address it? The answer to that question is the matter properly the subject of the charge
  • where it is alleged that a specific statutory provision, or a code, or a guideline or the like has been breached, the relevant provision must be identified.

Employers urged to focus on Kirk ruling in WHS cases

New requirements for companies and individuals transporting dangerous goods will take effect on January 1, 2017.

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Updated Dangerous Goods Code includes changes to licensing, placards, packing instructions and more including Training on a yearly basis for all staff.   

Courses available at:    https://www.dangerousgoodstrainingcourseonline.com.au/

New requirements for companies and individuals transporting dangerous goods will take effect on January 1, 2017.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released the an updated version of the Australian Dangerous Goods Code, which includes changes to rules governing licensing, placards, packing, labels and more.

The NTC says the revised code, which incorporates United Nations and Australian changes, has been updated to align with international standards and meet community and industry needs.

The dangerous goods sector can continue using the existing code (edition 7.3) until the beginning of 2017.

“The Code is an important technical resource to help Australia’s transport and logistics industry to operate safely when carrying dangerous goods,” the latest edition states.

“It is important that all members of the supply chain understand and work to the requirements of the Code, including the consignor, packer, truck driver and dangerous goods transport companies, along with dangerous goods professionals and trainers.”

Amendments include the addition of new materials to the list of dangerous goods, changes to lithium battery transport requirements, a new rule on placards and a restriction on drivers with provisional or learner licences.

“The definition of a driver licence has been broadened. It clarifies that drivers on a provisional or learner licence cannot hold a dangerous goods licence,” the new code states.

“It is an offence for consignors, loader, prime contractor or driver to transport dangerous goods with an incorrect placard.”

The new code does not cover the transport of explosives, radioactive materials, infectious substances, the usage, storage or security of dangerous goods or waste products unless they are transported with other dangerous goods.

NTC CEO Paul Retter says the latest edition will continue to promote safe dangerous goods transport practices while helping reduce the administrative burden on companies.

“The latest edition should cut red tape for importers and exporters because the code is now more consistent with air and sea requirements for dangerous goods transport and is also more in line with overseas requirements,” Retter says.

“It is very important that people reading the code also read the dangerous goods legislation in their jurisdiction.”

Retter says the code is reviewed every two years to meet the changing needs of users and keep pace with the latest UN regulations.

Loading practices case puts approach in spotlight

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Poor standards led to the death of an innocent motorist, but the loader received a small fine while the truck driver delivering the freight was charged with manslaughter

A truck driver was put through the legal wringer after freight fell from a rig he was driving and killed a woman, while the company responsible for loading the vehicle received a small fine.  New South Wales Police threw the book at driver Basil White after a steel girder slid off his truck and collided with the passing vehicle of Leonie Darling in 2011.

Darling was travelling on the Mitchell Highway near Bathurst when the incident occurred and died as a result.

White, who was driving for Robbie Walker Transport when the accident happened, was charged with dangerous driving occasioning death, driving in a dangerous manner and manslaughter by criminal negligence.

He was found not guilty and cleared of all charges in April this year.

KGB Protective Coatings was the party tasked with loading the truck.


In a separate court case, the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) prosecuted it for a load restraint breach under chain of responsibility (COR).

During proceedings, it was revealed KGB used untrained staff to load the truck.

“The KGB staff who placed the load onto the vehicle were under the supervision of KGB,” justice Peter Garling says.

“KGB staff were not trained in load restraint.

“KGB staff did not measure the dimension of the load.”

He found the company’s actions caused Darling’s death and KGB accepted no responsibility for its actions, despite pleading guilty to a load restraint offence.

“If the load had been properly secured, such that it was unlikely to fall, as the legislation required, then Ms Darling’s death would not have happened,” Garling says.

“I can only conclude that there was a failure by the company to address its legal obligations with respect to load restraint.”

Garling convicted KGB and fined it $18,150, along with ordering the firm to pay $25,000 to the RMS in court costs.

It faced a maximum fine of $27,500.

“Except for the plea of guilty to the offences, there is no evidence that the company has accepted responsibility for its actions, nor has the company, other than by its plea, acknowledged any injury, loss or damage caused by its actions, nor is there any evidence that it has made any reparation for such injury, loss or damage as the statute requires,” he says.

“I am not persuaded on the balance of probabilities that the mere entry of a plea indicates any remorse on the part of the company.”

KGB used softwood timber as dunnage to support the load but the wood was defective and compressed during transit, causing the girder to slide off the truck.

Robbie Walker Transport supplied the wood but did not know it was defective.

The RMS prosecuted the company and its owner, Robert John Walker, for a load restraint breach under COR.

Both pleaded guilty.

The company was convicted and fined $16,500, while Walker himself was convicted and fined $900.

They were ordered to pay the RMS $20,000 in court costs.

The court was told the now-retired Walker had been involved in the transport industry since 1970 and that prior to the 2011 incident had never breached road safety or load restraint requirements.

“In his affidavit Mr Walker expresses deep remorse for the offence, and heartfelt sympathy for the family of the unfortunate Ms Darling,” justice Peter Hidden, who sentenced Walker, says.

“He adds that he accepts full responsibility for the incident, and is ‘personally very affected’ by it.

“Indeed, this tragedy was a material factor in his decision to terminate his involvement in the transport industry.”negligent-loading-practices-blame-atn4

 Lowly penalty

Prior to fining KGB, justice Garling emphasised the need for the penalty to send a message to other companies in the transport supply chain.

“This is a case where, given the nature of the offence and the fact it occurred on a public road, the principle of general deterrence must play an important but necessarily proportionate role,” he says.

“In these circumstances, the proper punishment of the company will operate as a general deterrence for other companies who consign and load goods onto heavy vehicles for transport on the public roads of NSW from committing breaches of transport legislation, in particular of load restraint requirements, and thereby enhance road safety.”

However, the RMS believes the penalty is too low to deter others from breaching their obligations.

“The consignor was fined $18,150 out of a possible maximum of $27,500,” it says.

“It is doubtful whether this amount would have had a meaningful deterrent effect among off-road parties in the road freight industry.”

KGB’s actions amounted to a severe risk breach — the highest-level offence under COR.

The RMS tried to prosecute KGB for the COR breach as a loader and a consignor — thereby exposing it to multiple fines — and KGB pleaded guilty to both offences.

However, Garling ruled both offences were the same and that he was only permitted to impose a penalty for one offence.

He convicted and fined KGB for a loading offence and then applied a conviction only for breaching its duties as a consignor.

“The breach of the Road Transport [Act] legislation, namely, that the load was not properly secured, is identical with respect to each of the two offences,” Garling says.

“The only difference between the offences is the capacity in which the company is charged — in one offence as the consignor, in another offence as the loader.”

Procedures questioned

KGB put in place a new loading procedure after it was prosecuted for the load restraint failure.

However, court documents show Garling has serious misgivings about whether the procedure will be effective.negligent-loading-practices-blame-atn2

In his written judgment, Garling says the single page document directs KGB employees to avoid involvement in any loading procedure, as opposed to pointing out steps they can take to ensure vehicles they load or consign do not breach road transport requirements.

“Paragraphs four, five and six of the document directly relate to not taking any action and, in essence, seek to ensure that the company no longer undertakes loading, and thereby avoids any responsibility at all for the restraint of a load on any vehicle which leaves the company’s premises,” Garling says.

“I am not persuaded on the balance of probabilities that this new procedure will avoid any conduct which may constitute the one or more offences in the future.

“It may provide a basis for the company being able to mount a defence to any allegation that it has been in breach of its obligations as created by the statute, but I am not persuaded that such steps as have been taken to rectify the procedure which previously existed will mean the company is unlikely to commit any further offences of the kind with which it is charged.”

Slack procedures

Potentially more parties could have been prosecuted for the death of Darling, but they managed to avoid the courtroom because the RMS could not establish a paperwork trail.

Investigators identified six parties — including those charged — involved in the transport of the girders.

“The transport of the steel girders had been arranged through a chain of phone calls and subcontractors,” the RMS says.

“There was no process of induction or communication to confirm the skills and experience of the final subcontractor and driver.

“There was nothing done to confirm how the load was to be restrained. There was no planning for the driver to take a rest break.

“In the absence of any written agreement or other transport or journey documents, it was not possible to identify whether the conduct of other parties contributed to the load restraint failure.”

The RMS says there was a separate consignee and two other transport businesses that subcontracted the work or referred the job on.

“There was no communication about the nature of the load, its restraint or the time available for its delivery,” it says.

The RMS believes the outcome could have been different if the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) proposed changes to COR were in place.negligent-loading-practices-blame-atn3

The NTC wants to replace existing prescriptive COR standards with a general duties requirement.

The change will impose a broad safety obligation on parties but will allow them to determine how they will comply with COR.

“Under a general duties regime any one of these omissions [in the Darling case] would be a breach of the duty to ensure safety,” RMS says.

“It would not be necessary to have a crash such as this to establish the offence.

“This obligation would focus the minds of those in the transport industry on managing safety risks and thereby on prevention of incidents such as this.”

The RMS says there should have been greater effort to ensure the load was restrained properly and that correct dunnage was used to prevent the load from shifting.

“The police clearly formed the opinion the driver was reckless, charging him with manslaughter,” it says.

“The driver was not the only person who could have done more to prevent this crash.”

ATN contacted KGB but the company, through its legal representative, declined to comment.

Original Story Reproduced: http://www.fullyloaded.com.au/industry-news/1511/loading-practices-case-puts-approach-in-spotlight/?utm_source=atn_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=article1_readmore&utm_campaign=15-11-2015&user_id=be5e45e13a06c6d0407f9143cc5eaafc99e9bd83


BP Grounds Full Fleet After Accident that Killed 3 People

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BP grounds its fleet across Victoria yesterday as police start to investigate a crash that killed a 33 year old mother, her four-year-old boy and a 67-year-old driver of the second vehicle. As the second major event of a Fuel Tanker killing people within the last 12 months the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has to more closely scrutinise Fuel industry practices for its compliance under the Chain of Responsibility Laws in Australia. The recent changes by the National Transport Commission that will also see full maintenance records form part of the prosecution and investigation process.


In the recent Lennon’s case last week the magistrate handed down record fines of 1.3 Million to the Directors of Lennon’s Transport and candidate focused on the lack of Systems, Policies, Procedures, Tools and Accredited training of staff to meet its CoR obligations under the National Heavy Vehicle Laws. www.nhvr.gov.au

In the event yesterday that killed 3 people the trailer of the BP petrol tanker became detached while rounding a bend, rolling on top of one of the cars and crushing it.

Witnesses said the truck was travelling normally before the trailer came off.

“The tanker uncoupled from the tri-axle primary vehicle, the trailer has then crossed on to the wrong side of the road and collided head on with two vehicles,” Det Insp Bernie Rankin told reporters at the scene near Wodonga.

“This is just a catastrophic situation where people innocently driving along a highway have been confronted with a situation that was impossible for them to have any control over or take any evasive action.”

A 33-year-old Allans Flat woman and her four-year-old son died in the accident on Thursday morning along with a 67-year-old Yackandandah woman in the other car.

Rankin said the trailer and truck will be examined to determine what caused the crash.

BP said that as a precaution it had recalled its entire Victorian trucking fleet and would co-operate with any investigation.

“We are deeply saddened that there have been loss of life,” a BP statement said.

No fuel spilled out of the tanker but the petrol had to be funnelled into another truck before it could be lifted off the crushed vehicle.

The truck driver, a local man in his 50s, is assisting police with their inquiries.

The deaths take Victoria’s road toll to 153, eight more than at this time last year.