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Bulk tanker safety day gives hands-on demonstration

National Bulk Tanker Association also launches guide to help operators better understand roll stability retrofitting.


A petrol tanker emergency response and recovery scenario was one of the highlights of the recent bulk tanker safety day in Melbourne.

Firefighters from the Victorian Country Fire Authority sprayed foam onto leaking ‘fuel’ to starve it of oxygen before industry experts showed how to safely ‘transfer’ the fake fuel.

The National Bulk Tanker Association (NBTA) in conjunction with the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) organised the event.

NBTA executive director Rob Perkins points out while there are a low number of incidents considering the high volume of dangerous liquids carried in Australia, the consequences when a tanker crashes can be high.

“If things go wrong they go very badly wrong and are very noticeable,” Perkins says.

“Therefore our tolerance for failure is very low. We have to be an industry that is absolutely risk averse.”

Hands-on safety-critical maintenance sessions were also held on the bulk tanker day, which is an annual event.

The safety day also saw the official launch of a question and answer document on roll stability written by brake manufacturing experts.

There were also demonstration sessions on retrofitting roll stability equipment.

In the wake of two multiple-fatality petrol tanker crashes in New South Wales in the past few years, the NSW Government has announced that all tank trailers will require roll stability function within a five year period.

The NBTA and the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA) have been jointly lobbying for this sort of measure for several years.

Rob Perkins – who is also the executive officer of ARTSA – welcomes the unilateral NSW decision and says it mirrors what former Victorian premier John Brumby did with cars.

“He decided that Victoria would not register motor cars unless they had passenger side airbags and electronic stability control, and he forced all the other states to fall into line,” Perkins says.

He adds the functionality and benefits of roll stability are “absolutely proven”.

“It’s time for the debate on that to end and for action to be taken.”

The ARTSA frequently-asked-questions document was put together by representatives from major braking equipment companies including Wabco, Knorr-Bremse, Haldex and BPW.

ARTSA says the advice – available on its website – was developed in close co-operation with the NSW Environment Protection Authority to help operators to better understand retrofitting.

Read the feature on tanker rollover safety in the October issue of ATN. Click here to secure your copy now.

Photography: Chloe S Chan, Joon Images

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