Archive for November, 2009

Foolhardy decision led to truckies’ deaths

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

(Courtesy of the ABC)
truck burn 1truck burn 2truck burn 3In a scathing judgement, Western Australia’s coroner says the decision to allow a group of vehicles onto the highway ahead of a firestorm forecast was “foolhardy in the extreme”. The coroner has handed down his findings into the deaths of three truck drivers near Coolgardie in December 2007.
He has criticised the incident management controllers of the Environment Department who failed to take note of the forecasts. The drivers were in a group of vehicles allowed onto the Great Eastern Highway after a roadblock was lifted, despite forecasts that a firestorm was about to hit the road.

A fire between Coolgardie and Southern Cross had been burning for two days when the tragedy occurred. It was late on December 30 when the Department of Environment officer managing the fire opened the highway.
Trevor Murley, Lewis Bedford and Robert Taylor died in two trucks caught in the firestorm, which occurred after the wind changed.

Department is to blame
The Coroner said incident controller Barry Hooper had made the decision despite his own media releases referring to predicted wind changes. The chief executive of the Environment Department, Kieran McNamara, says the loss of the three lives “was a terrible tragedy”. “The Department took full responsibility at the time of the fire for the actions that we took in managing the fire and opening the road at the time that we did, and clearly mistakes were made,” he said.
Mr McNamara said departmental staff realised the next day that weather forecasts of a wind change had not been acted on. “The staff member from Kalgoorlie, Mr Hooper, has left the department; the other staff were not from Kalgoorlie, the ones who are known by the Coroner, they were not based in Kalgoorlie,” he said. “They are still operating as members of fire teams but under appropriate supervision.
“Now that the Coroner has brought down his findings today we will examine those findings and we will take the appropriate actions, but we have waited until the Coroner brought down his findings before addressing that matter.”

Mr McNamara said the Environment Department had an otherwise record of fighting fires and protecting the public. “I do have confidence in the staff of the department in carrying out that role.
Clearly on this occasion mistakes were made and we will learn from those and we will incorporate those lessons in future fire management,” he said. “For example, there were no interagency procedures properly in place for road closures and traffic management in major fires prior to the Boorabin fire. “Those procedures are now fully in place and were effective and very successful in the Bridgetown fires earlier this year.”

Opposition seeks action
The State Opposition’s spokeswoman for Emergency Services, Margaret Quirk, says there needs to be decisive action in the wake of the Coroner’s report. She has given a withering account of the performance of the Department of Environment and Conservation. “The Department of Environment and Conservation has been in cover-up mode on this incident for almost two years, and frankly, in denial,” she said.
“They recently gave evidence before the Coroner that they believed the management of the fire was competent. “The Coroner used words like ‘incompetent’, ‘remarkable’, ‘amazing’, ‘ignoring basic weather information’. “That is a matter of major concern and the Opposition will certainly be seeking assurances from government that systems are now in place for that not to occur.”
The Coroner said the original fire was deliberately or accidentally lit by someone or people unknown. He said that contributed to the deaths and such behaviour was inexcusable.

Boral Transport Engineering Manager wins Award

Monday, November 23rd, 2009
2009 Craig Roseneder Award for Technical  and Maintenance Excellence in the Workshop winner Merv Rowlands, with judge and ATA  Industry Technical Council Chairman, John  S Pierce.

2009 Craig Roseneder Award for Technical and Maintenance Excellence in the Workshop winner Merv Rowlands, with judge and ATA Industry Technical Council Chairman, John S Pierce.

The Fleet Engineering Manager for Boral Transport, Merv Rowlands, is the 2009 winner of the Craig Roseneder Award for Technical and Maintenance Excellence in the Workshop. The award is presented each year to recognise the professionalism of the men and women who work in the trucking industry’s workshops.

The ATA and the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA) announced the award at the Castrol Awards Dinner, which was part of the Technical and Maintenance Conference. The Chairman of the ATA, Trevor Martyn, said Merv was a worthy winner of the award, having over 28 years experience in the workshop.

“In his role at Boral Transport, Merv has accountability for setting the specifications for some 1500 heavy vehicles operating for Boral around Australia,” Trevor said. “He has worked tirelessly with suppliers to improve the safety, environmental and ergonomic specifications of vehicles in the fleet.

“In particular, Merv has played a leading role to commission the first Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) engines used in agitators in Australia. This technology is now being progressively rolled out across the Boral fleet. “His expansive list of achievements, which include development of many leading-edge trailer designs, is testament to his commitment to improve the impact the industry has on the community.”

Merv said he was honoured to receive an award judged by his peers. “Everyone knows that our industry is one you eat, sleep, live and breathe,” Merv said.
“Receiving an award like this is one of those very special moments when you get recognised by your own industry for all the work you do. “My job is the best job by a mile. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”

As part of his win, Merv received a scholarship to attend the American Trucking Associations’ Maintenance Council meeting in early 2010 and $1500 in spending money.

He was also presented with an individual trophy and a gift from award sponsor Castrol.

Ongoing Fleet Maintenance

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

THE Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) has reminded business owners that vehicle and fleet maintenance is an on-going process.

During the recent Safe Work Australia Week, employers and employees were encouraged to review their approach to ensuring safety within the workplace.
VACC, the peak automotive industry body in Victoria, is urging employers and employees to continue to review their approach to safety in the workplace, in particular regard to work related vehicles.
Company cars and commercial vehicles are workplaces and as such, are regulated by health and safety laws. “Vehicle safety should be 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year,” VACC executive director David Purchase said. “Every employer and employee has a responsibility to continuously monitor the safety of their vehicle or fleet.
“A good source of information for managers and drivers is the Guide to Safe Work Related Driving.
“The guide is an important handbook and has been endorsed by the government, police, WorkSafe and the Transport Accident Commission. “The Guide to Safe Work Related Driving says that the selection of the safest possible vehicle needs to be backed up by a preventative maintenance program to ensure vehicle safety is maximized.

A maintenance system ensures that the manufacturer’s service recommendations are met and that the vehicle complies with roadworthiness requirements.
“If a vehicle is neglected and has bald tyres, faulty brakes or broken lights, that vehicle, regardless of its ANCAP safety rating, is at risk of being involved in a road traffic accident,” Mr. Purchase said. “VACC urges all business owners to read and understand the Guide to Safe Work Related Driving.”
For a free copy of the Guide to Safe Work Related Driving go to


Friday, November 20th, 2009

Living on one of the driest inhabited continents on earth means that water is as much a luxury as it is a necessity, so correctly managing the resource is critical. With around 22,000 kilometres of pipeline to service, NSW state government-owned Sydney Water has a considerable workload to both provide and maintain this essential service in Australia’s largest city.

One of Sydney Water’s Isuzu NPR 200 response and service units.

One of Sydney Water’s Isuzu NPR 200 response and service units.

The water utility carries out the planning, construction and maintenance of all water systems, sewerage treatments and filtration plants for the greater Sydney metropolitan area.
Sydney Water’s corporate fleet manager John Little, said the utility’s work involved servicing customers’ needs, inspecting and fixing water leaks, constructing and maintaining infrastructure and conducting water sampling in catchment areas.
With such an extensive range of responsibilities and often urgent customer call-outs, Sydney Water needs access to a range of tools, equipment and vehicles that are reliable and technologically advanced.
“Sydney Water is able to procure any vehicle to which state government pricing is applicable, Isuzu is obviously on that list, which means that we can access Isuzu trucks,” Mr Little said. Sydney Water have been using Isuzu trucks for around 15 years and according to Mr Little, the relationship has grown stronger in the last few years. “Isuzu makes trucks that suit our purpose very well”.
“We used to use a number of other manufacturers within our fleet of trucks, but due to Isuzu’s strong product and wide range of models, they have now become our dominant supplier. We currently have 270 Isuzu trucks and since the start of 2008, 91 Isuzus have joined our fleet. We generally lease a truck for six to seven years, or for around 150,000 to 200,000 kilometres “.
According to Mr Little, Sydney Water’s trucks operate as response units, turning out to service emergencies or problems in the water network, but they are also used for various maintenance and construction works around Sydney.
“Most of our trucks are fitted with a service body that carries tools, parts and other equipment. We also use several tippers for carrying goods to new pipeline or network construction sites and for carrying welders and other hefty equipment, we also have the odd truck fitted with a pantech trailer.”
As most of Sydney Water’s driving is on busy city and urban roads, the fleet comprises mostly of the N Series and smaller F Series Isuzu models with Isuzu’s NPR 300 and NPR 400 models their main choice, but Sydney Water also has several FVR 950s and FVR 1000s and a handful of FRR models.

Isuzu trucks provide a consistent approach for our drivers and although features and technology in the trucks is always improving, the fundamentals generally stay the same, this gives our drivers the confidence to get into a new model and just drive away, which contributes to our fleet efficiency. All vehicles in our fleet need to have power steering, air conditioning, dual airbags (where applicable) and ABS. Safety is an important consideration for Sydney Water and Isuzu trucks comfortably meet our safety requirements. Leasing our fleet means we can keep up with current technology, and the responsibility of procuring, managing, maintaining and disposing of vehicles is outsourced, allowing us to focus on our core business, and keeping our customers happy.”

Only in America

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Amite County, Mississippi

Motor Bike or Car

Motor Bike or Car

This machine is actually registered as a car……..
The motorbike front end has no engine.
The car front is from a front wheel drive Ford ,cleverly married to the boot of the same vehicle.

It is registered

It is registered

It’s a little bit curious though that he hauls a spare quad bike in the box trailer, but it is even more amusing that there is an air deflector on the car

Holidays are different

Holidays are different

Just imagine rolling into a NSW RTA or Qld Transport Department’s inspection station and asking them to road register it.