Big trucking customer comments on its Adelaide warehouse queue shuffling debacle.
Trucks are queuing for hours on end to access Visy's Gepps Cross facility in Adelaide.
Australia’s largest privately owned company, Visy, has responded to ATN’s assertion that it appears to be vulnerable regarding chain of responsibility on fatigue.
Yesterday ATN revealed truck drivers had to queue for hours on end to unload freight at Visy’s Gepps Cross warehouse in Adelaide’s industrial north.
There are no timeslots and drivers are treated on a first-come, first-served basis in a process that appears at odds with fatigue management requirements.
This situation is in stark contrast to that for interstate truckies at the giant 24/7 Visy pulp and paper mill operation on the Snowy Mountains Highway near Tumut in New South Wales.
There’s a demountable building in a large parking area which includes toilet, shower, coffee and kitchen facilities. Drivers get a phone call when it’s their turn to go in.
ATN sent several e-mails to Visy detailing the truck drivers’ concerns and reporting its own observations. Visy responded with:
"Recognising our role within the context of the Chain of Responsibility and in order to facilitate improved driver and vendor practices, Visy has recently re-engineered and re-aligned its entire national subcontractor network. Integral to this process has been:
- The alignment and ‘partnering’ with selected vendors who are willing to work with Visy, pro-actively, in the resolution of both micro and macro issues
- The formal engagement of ‘vendors’ through SLA’s (service level agreements) and the incorporation of specific obligations pertaining to Chain of Responsibility, code of practice and legal compliance
- The alignment of ‘Vendors’, services and home depots.
Drivers arriving and waiting outside of normal site operating hours, when the site is unmanned, should be using truck stops, home depots or demarcated rest areas en-route. These facilities are readily available and it is incumbent on the driver to ensure that they use them.
During site operating hours, vehicles are co-ordinated through the site in a manner and at a pace that is in accordance with Visy’s OHS&E policies."
The comments from Visy refer to a ‘code of practice’.
That code is presumably the Retail Logistics Supply Chain Code of Practice, administered by the Australian Logistics Council (ALC).
Visy is a recent signatory to that code. The ALC says as a new signatory, Visy "is following a standard set of audit procedures, including conducting an entry audit".
"Following this, there are a range of requirements set down by ALC to progress the audit process," it says.
The ALC says the Gepps Cross facility has not been audited under the code.
"You will need to discuss further with Visy whether they may be in the future," the ALC says.
ATN spoke with several truck drivers who have queued outside the warehouse.
One says it once took him nine hours to shuffle up and get unloaded after arriving in the morning.
Another truckie can top that. He says his record is 12 hours of shuffling up and unloading.
"It’s appalling," one truck driver who has been a regular at the Visy warehouse for a couple of years says.
"Consideration for the drivers doesn’t exist. If I have to go to Visy at Adelaide I just expect to lose a day."
Another driver says: "It’s against chain of responsibility or whatever, but what’s the point of the whole thing if chain of responsibility just isn’t policed?"
Mack to the core: David Burdon has spent most of his career behind the wheel of a Mack truck.
It isn’t hard to see why David Burdon is so happy.
His job with timber harvester and hauler Clearwater Logging & Transport is varied and interesting, his daily tasks involve hanging out in the bush a lot of the time and he just happens to drive a Mack.
"I’m a Mack man. I’ve driven mostly Macks in my 37 years of driving, and this is a pretty good bulldog," he says from behind the wheel of his 1996 model Titan.
"It has a Mack 575 V8, and a Mack 18-speed T2180A heavy duty gearbox."
David’s role at the Victorian-based Clearwater is moving machinery. Clearwater has eight harvesting gangs operating throughout western Victoria and South Australia’s south-east.
During summer, most of the machinery is around Colac. In winter they move towards Flowerdale and Ballarat and west to Mount Gambier.
"It is interesting work, you don’t do the same run every day and I like the variety," David says.
"If it wasn’t this interesting I probably wouldn’t have continued doing it for so long, but with great gear, good bosses and a pure bred bulldog, I love the job."
David’s career in logging began back in Tasmania when he was 20 years old and driving for his father Reginald Burdon.
"My dad was a log carter as well, and started with him in a B61 Mack back in 1975 carting hardwood to the sawmills," he says.
David spent as much time as he could out in the forest with his dad on the logs before buying his own truck, an R Model Mack with a 285hp (212.5kW) Econodyne engine in 1978, and eventually moving to the mainland.
He enjoys the peace and tranquillity that comes with working out in the bush.
"Winter can be a bit of a nuisance, the rain, mud and slush, but you take the good with the bad," he says.
Source: Owner/ Driver
Tell truckie Pat Armstrong that his job is the most dangerous in Australia and he’s not surprised at all.
A survey released this week by Life Insurance Finder found the transport and storage industry – which includes truck drivers – was the most dangerous job category in Australia.
It was an industry in which 65 people died last year.
Armstrong has been driving off and on since the 1970s and now is behind the wheel for Toll.
He said Toll drivers stick to the rules – ‘‘they watch us like hawks’’ – but he sees what goes on with drivers for other companies.
‘‘You see the trucks out there and what they do,’’ he said.
He sees them pushed to the limit, sees them go without sleep and sees them overlook maintenance on their vehicles as long as possible.
And sometimes even longer.
‘‘They’ll leave it till the last minute if they can, until something happens before they fix it,’’ Mr Armstrong said.
‘‘I couldn’t care about them, it’s the other people out there that they’re going to maim or kill. It’s the people out there like my relatives and your relatives that are going to suffer because of this idiot that’s running on the red.’’
He said he wasn’t worried about becoming one of the fatalities in his industry.
‘‘I won’t become one of those 65 a year because my company does everything right,’’ he said.
‘‘If I’m tired I’ll pull over, there are a lot of guys who can’t do that.’’
In the survey, there were no surprises in the top three – agriculture, forestry and fishing was ranked second and construction third.
The retail trade finished in seventh place.
Source: Illawarra Mercury
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is currently undertaking the review of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) as part of the Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness Program – a joint initiative with the National Transport Commission (NTC).
The NTC and NHVR have released two reports (Review Phase 1 and 2) for comment on the potential improvements to safety outcomes for the heavy vehicle industry as part of the Roadworthiness Program. The reports can be viewed at the NTC and NHVR websites.
The Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness Program is the first major initiative undertaken by the NHVR and the NTC under the recently agreed memorandum of understanding between the two organisations. The Program aims to develop policy and implementable measures for an improved national heavy vehicle roadworthiness system.
The Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness Program has two parts – including a review into the effectiveness of heavy vehicle inspections conducted by the NTC; and a review of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) conducted by the NHVR.
The purpose of the Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness Program is to develop options and recommendations for improving heavy vehicle inspection regimes – periodic and on-road compliance inspections, including operational reforms and as necessary, regulatory amendments. The NHVAS will look at substantive requirements, governance and administrative model – including the detailed implementation and operation of the maintenance management module.
Initial recommendations are expected to be delivered from late 2014, with final proposals for the improvement of the roadworthiness systems by mid-2015.
The NHVR has appointed Ms Jan Powning as Manager of the NHVAS Review.
Source: Prime Mover
Gordon Russell was on the road for over 50 years and spent 34 years carting milk in the Otway region.
Restoration of his International R190 is keeping Gordon Russell busy in retirement.
Gordon Russell from Colac in Victoria’s Western District retired last year at the age of 69.
His five decades on the road included 34 years collecting milk from dairy farms in the Otway region for Colac Dairying Co.
He joined the team in the late 1960s and the company was renamed ‘Bonlac Foods’ while he was there. "It didn’t matter whether I went north, south, east or west. I had fun along the way with the farmers and everybody," Gordon says.
He travelled up to 400km a day. Many of those kilometres were on steep and winding unsealed roads. "It wasn’t easy work. It was on road, off road, in around dairies, rough roads and gravel roads. Rain, hail and shine, milk had to be shifted from the farm."
Gordon already had a high opinion of International trucks and his work with the dairy company proved how resilient they were.
Gordon’s driving skills and devotion to the International brand were so renowned that he was asked to demonstrate new International trucks at Trucks in Action at Warragul every two years from 1986 to 1996.
He stayed with the dairy company until 2001 when he was made redundant. He was carting water for Eldridge Water Sales when he retired last year.
In retirement Gordon is restoring an International R190. "We’re changing nothing," Gordon says. "All we’re doing is pulling it to pieces, cleaning it up, painting it and putting it back together again." The project was nearing completion when Owner// Driver visited him at Colac.
Gordon spoke to us about his early career carting peas, and his trips across the Nullarbor carting refrigerators with a 1970 Kenworth 125.
An inquest has been told the driver involved in a fatal crash at the bottom of the South Eastern Freeway was making the descent in a truck for the first time.
VIDEO Click here
A New South Wales truck company has pleaded guilty to more than 150 charges of drivers working dangerously long hours.
Wollongong-based McCabe Transport was originally charged with 235 offences related to drivers not properly recording their work times in November and December 2011.
Company director Anthony McCabe pleaded guilty to 159 of the charges.
Going through each of the charges in detail, prosecutor Gabrielle Bashir told Downing Centre Local Court one driver on a long-haul trip between Dubbo, Broken Hill and Port Pirie in South Australia did not have an adequate break or keep a work diary.
She said the number of charges suggested the company had "a culture of non-compliance which at the very least was tolerated".
The court also heard allegations that some trip documents were falsified.
Magistrate William Pierce noted some of the offences were serious but is yet to hand down a sentence.
Company could face hefty fines
McCabe and his company could face hefty fines after the court heard each of the offences carried maximum penalties of thousands of dollars.
None of the McCabe Transport drivers have been prosecuted because they were offered immunity for helping investigators from Roads and Maritime Services.
The court heard under NSW regulations, truck drivers working on their own were allowed to drive for a maximum of 12 hours in a 24-hour period.
Recently, another trucking company, Cootes, was fined $500,000 in NSW and $50,000 in Victoria after pleading guilty to hundreds of road safety breaches.
Cootes was involved in a fatal tanker crash on Sydney's northern beaches last year. The truck was carrying 20,000 litres of fuel and some of it ran into nearby waterways.
In June, a NSW court fined Scott's Transport and two senior staff $1.25 million for speeding and speed limit tampering.
Source: ABC NEWS
Industry group wants changes to tolls when new truck curfews take effect.
The VTA wants tolls removed on trucks using the Bolte Bridge at night.
Tolls on trucks using the Bolte Bridge in Melbourne would be removed at night under a proposal from the Victorian Transport Association (VTA).
The lobby group has put forward the plan in light of a government decision to announce new truck bans and curfews on residential streets in Melbourne’s inner west that have been used to travel to and from the Port of Melbourne.
VTA CEO Peter Anderson says trucks will be forced to use the Bolte Bridge when restrictions on using residential streets are imposed.
"What the VTA and its members would like to see is some forward thinking and common sense by road authorities and operators," Anderson says.
"Given the existing and new night curfews in the access areas near the port precinct, the VTA is calling on a removal of tolls along the Bolte Bridge at night when these curfews come into play and drivers have no alternative but to travel along the toll road."
Anderson has also warned Transurban’s decision to increase tolls on heavy vehicles using the CityLink network from April 2017 will encourage more companies to use residential streets to avoid the impost.
Transurban made the decision to increase tolls to help cover the planned $850 million investment in widening the CityLink Tullamarine corridor. Extra lanes will be added and works are due to begin from early next year and finish in 2018.
The VTA estimates the increase will cost the trucking industry $130 million.
"Trucks already pay 1.9 times the toll of cars on CityLink, but will pay up to three times more than cars on the same stretch of road when the increase is introduced," Anderson says.
"Truck drivers and operators are already being chastised for travelling on inner city streets, particularly in residential areas adjacent to the CityLink/Tullamarine Freeway corridor. But faced with excessive and dramatic additional toll costs it’s anticipated that transport operators will seek alternative routes along local roads to contain costs and overheads," he says.
Anderson says operators will not be able to absorb the increase and will try and pass it on to their customers.
A truck driver who was caught drink driving 13 times over the legal limit has pleaded guilty.
Scott Noel O'Mally was spotted driving his Mack prime mover erratically on the New England Highway in NSW's Hunter on the afternoon of September 14.
Following complaints, police intercepted him and pulled over the 42-year-old.
After he allegedly failed to comply to a roadside breath-test, O'Mally was taken to nearby Singleton Police Station.
Police say he returned a reading of 0.272 - more than 13 times the legal alcohol limit for drivers of vehicles more than 13.9 tonnes.
O'Mally pleaded guilty on Thursday to high range drink driving at Singleton Local Court.
He is due to be sentenced in November.
Source: 9 NEWS
A 21-year-old worker has died at an Adelaide construction site after he apparently fell under a passing truck.
The man from Victor Harbor was killed in the incident about lunchtime at the Costco site in Churchill Road at Kilburn in the northern suburbs.
He was a contractor working on landscaping for the car park of a new shopping complex and police said it appeared he fell under the truck when he slipped while sweeping up mulch.
SafeWork SA is investigating how the accident happened.
Executive director Bryan Russell said it was a tragedy for the young man, his family and other site workers.
"This death is a sad reminder about why we must all manage workplace risk and remain vigilant in eliminating and minimising work health and safety hazards," he said.
Source: ABC NEWS
A 45-year-old truck driver is dead after his semi-trailer overturned north of Rockhampton.
The crash happened on the Bruce Highway near Marlborough about 7:30pm (AEST) last night.
The driver, from Plainland in the Lockyer Valley, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The highway was closed for several hours but has since reopened.
Source: ABC NEWS
Transport and distribution specialist, Border Express, has taken delivery of seven UD Quon GW 26 420 prime movers that will operate from its Melbourne Airport site.
“Our drivers get in and out of their trucks up to 15 times a day and travel at least 250 kilometres. We needed something that was suited for local work, could handle industrial sites, that was reliable, cost-effective and that people would want to drive,” said Michael Beech, State Operations Manager, Border Express.
“Last week I saw one of our subcontractors return to the depot after an 11 hour shift. He looked fresh – that’s exactly what we want the trucks to be able to do for our drivers.”
According to Border Express, the UD GW 26 420 cabin has been designed for the ultimate in driver comfort including a multi-display monitor and telematics system. The Automated Manual Transmission provides smooth driving in a variety of driving scenarios such as hilly roads, long haul intercity journeys or any type of rough road. The series improves fuel economy, increases efficiency, reduces emissions and lessens driver fatigue.
The seven new UD trucks will join Border Express’ national fleet that now boasts up to 25 UD trucks.
Source: Prime Mover
Industry veteran claims drivers are being paid less than they are owed or not at all.
The RSRT has been told truck drivers are being paid less than they are owed in allowances or not being paid at all.
Investigating allowances paid to truck drivers should be the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s (RSRT) primary focus in 2015, according to a veteran driver.
Steve Corcoran believes drivers are being paid less than they are owed in allowances or not being paid at all.
Corcoran’s recommendation the RSRT look at allowances is in response to the tribunal’s request for industry to nominate issues it should put on its agenda for next year.
"Allowances such as the Disability Allowance needs to be addressed along with, Overnight Allowance, Living Away from home allowance, Meal Allowance and of course Risk Allowance," his written submission states.
"Truck Drivers are paid a lesser amount of Meal Allowance than every other person in any other industry that claims Meal Allowance, yet the amount specified is never paid in full in my experiences over the last 20 years."
Corcoran’s submission also takes issue with superannuation payments, which are paid based on ordinary hours of work excluding overtime.
"…Drivers of Australia [are] being massively short changed on their superannuation with current practices of paying a maximum of 38 hours a week or 76 hours a fortnight, when legally we can work 144 hours a fortnight," he writes.
Corcoran previously asked the RSRT to mandate "danger money" for drivers to recognise the high fatality rate in the transport industry.
He says employers should pay drivers a weekly tax-free payment of $100.
The RSRT last month announced it was accepting proposals on what it should add to its third annual work program.
Since its establishment in 2012, the tribunal has looked at practices in the supermarket, bulk and linehaul sectors and is currently in the middle of an investigation into the cash-in-transit industry.
The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) urged all Victorian road users to consider the way they interact with heavy vehicles.
This week, VTA CEO Peter Anderson joined John Merritt, Chief Executive VicRoads and Neville Taylor, Acting Assistant Police Commissioner, on 3AWs Neil Mitchell program.
The segment focused on the important role that heavy vehicles play in society and the need for all motorists to interact safely with trucks on the road. “Trucks are responsible for the delivery of everyday essential items to our warehouses, supermarkets and stores,” Anderson said.
“Without heavy vehicles we wouldn’t be able to live our lives the way we do. The transport industry benefits all of society.
“Currently, road vehicles carry an estimated 84 percent of Victoria’s total land freight task so the chances of motorists encountering heavy vehicles on the roads is extremely high.
“As an industry body we expect truck drivers to be considerate of other road users and we urge the community to inform the relevant authorities if they witness unlawful behaviour; however we are seeing increased instances of poor decisions and risk taking from car drivers when mixing with trucks on the road.
Mr Anderson added, “In many instances drivers and the dash cams installed in many heavy vehicles are capturing motorists cutting too close in front of trucks when entering the road or changing lanes.
“This can be extremely dangerous and what the VTA urges society to understand is the distance it takes a truck to come to a stop; it is a much greater distance than that of a car due to the sheer size and weight of these heavy vehicles.
“The VTA appreciates that interacting with heavy vehicles on the road can be daunting, but there is no reason why heavy vehicles and other motorists can not share the road safely and efficiently.”
Source: Prime Mover
Truck drivers who are paid by the trip or the kilometre take fewer breaks and more drugs when driving, a new study has found.
In a paper presented to an international conference in Berlin this week, two Monash University researchers studied the way truck drivers' compensation related to fatigue behind the wheel.
About 350 drivers in NSW and WA were surveyed over two years, in one of the largest studies of driver behaviour and compensation undertaken in Australia.
The researchers found that drivers who were paid a "piece rate" – or on a per-kilometre or per-trip basis – drove for an average of up to 5.3 hours between breaks. This was an hour longer than those paid a salary or hourly wage.
"Anything above four hours is really starting to get into higher-risk territory," Jason Thompson, a co-author of the study and research fellow at the Monash Accident Research Centre, said.
More than 70 per cent of drivers surveyed were paid on an incentive, piece rate basis, a figure that rose even higher among NSW drivers.
Drivers paid on an incentive basis were also more likely to admit to using amphetamines behind the wheel: nearly 10 per cent of those who were paid per trip did so, compared with 2 per cent for those paid per kilometre and none on weekly or hourly wages.
"They reported all the signs of trying to fight sleepiness," Mr Thomson said. "The fact that people are trying to fight fatigue and some people are going to lose that fight is concerning."
Drivers on incentive payments reported slightly less sleepiness and fatigue. They also drove up to 150 kilometres a day more on average and were more likely to have slept in their truck the night before.
The new research comes as the federal government considers the future of the Gillard government's Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, a national body with the power to set pay and conditions for truck drivers.
A review into the body was handed to Employment Minister Eric Abetz but is yet to be released.
The minister has told the Federal Parliament there was no evidence to justify claims of a link between remuneration and safety but declined to comment for this story.
Transport Workers' Union assistant state secretary Michael Aird said the study's findings proved a link between pressure on drivers and safety.
"There needs to be safe rates for truck drivers if lives are to be saved," Mr Aird said. "The Prime Minister needs to decide if he'll back truck drivers and the community and support the RSRT's efforts to deal with the systemic issues causing over 300 deaths a year."
National Road Transport Association chief executive Chris Melham said he backed the abolition of the national regulator.
"Despite an increase in the number of heavy vehicles on our roads and the distances travelled, accidents involving heavy vehicles are continuing to reduce at an increased rate," he said.
Heavy trucks make up about 3 per cent of road traffic but more than 15 per cent of fatalities, according to the federal department of transport.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald