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Alarm over TfNSW inspection hygiene standards

Long-haul driver calls out Marulan weighbridge inspector of ignoring social distancing measures


New South Wales-based interstate driver Peter Wilson has reached out to ATN‘s sister publication, Owner//Driverfollowing an encounter at the Marulan northbound weighbridge with Transport for NSW (TfNSW, formerly Roads and Maritime Services [RMS]) inspectors.

Wilson is an example of an extremely high-risk individual in the
current coronavius Covid-19 pandemic, due to a compromised immune system resulting from type-1 diabetes.

“I got diabetes when I was 11 years old; I’m now 52 years old and I’m type-1, so it’s the worst you can get,” he explains.

“I’ve lived with it but, over the past six weeks, my specialist has put me onto an insulin pump so I’m not having five needles a day.

“Obviously, with Covid-19, I’m very high risk and it could very well be fatal for me.”

Wilson says that, with type-1 diabetes, not only is he susceptible of catching any bug or flu doing the rounds, but is likely to cop it twice as bad as the average individual.

On Thursday, March 26 just after 10pm, Wilson was directed into the northbound Marulan weighbridge on the Hume Highway, NSW, where, he says, hygiene just wasn’t up to scratch.

“I’d just left BP Marulan after a break, and I was aware they’d just opened the weighbridge but I thought nothing of it,” he says.

“They arrowed in and I went in with the driver in front of me.

“An inspector not wearing gloves walked down to me and he directed me to give him my work diary and licence.

“I said, ‘mate I’m not being a smarty but you should be wearing hand protection with what’s going on right now’.

“He directed me onto the plate straight after that and he took my work diary – I went through all the motions and I was then directed into the office because they’d found two work diary pages that weren’t completed. I’d forgotten to sign them.”

By this stage, Wilson says, no effort was made by the inspector to put gloves on, prompting him to question the hygiene standards.

“I copped the fine, but then I explained to the inspectors that I wasn’t being
a smartarse, I just asked about hand 
protection because I’m a diabetic and I’m high risk.

“I was then questioned about why I didn’t say anything about diabetes, and I said, ‘Well I should not have to under the circumstances’.

“It’s never been about the fine, it’s small, but the issue I’m raising here
is the failure to comply with basic hygiene requirements at the moment,” Wilson explains.

“It is a worry – we’re isolated in our cabins day in day out, it only takes one careless individual like an inspector to pass it onto dozens of us,” he says.

Owner//Driver contacted TfNSW for comment regarding the incident and was informed the recommended 1.5-metre social distancing rules were being exercised by inspectors.

“Transport for NSW’s priority is the safety of all customers and staff across the network and the continuity of services across metropolitan and regional locations,” a TfNSW spokesperson says.

“This includes continuing to provide support for the extensive freight network across NSW, including carrying out heavy vehicle inspections.

“Consistent with current Transport for NSW guidelines, all staff across the department have been advised to be vigilant in practicing good hygiene.

“All heavy vehicle inspectors are following the advice of NSW Health and washing their hands with soap and water, before and after each inspection.

“All Transport for NSW Heavy Vehicle Safety Stations (HVSS) have hand washing facilities on site. All mobile Transport for NSW vehicles which visit HVSS are equipped with 20-litre water tanks and soap to provide all inspectors with hand washing facilities, regardless of their location,” the spokesperson says.

TfNSW also outlined that in addition to hand washing and distancing measures, drivers where possible are being asked to exit their vehicles and place the diary on a table before returning to their vehicle. Upon inspection, the diary is then left on the table for the driver to collect – allowing for 1.5-metre distancing throughout the inspection.

In reply however, Wilson claims the inspector asked for his work diary while he remained in the truck, disregarding the previously mentioned distancing rule where drivers would be asked to exit their vehicle and place the work diary on a table.

TfNSW refused to comment any further on Peter Wilson’s response.


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