Dawn raid on Coles DC uncovers heavy vehicle breaches


NSW authorities target DC in Sydney’s south-west after claims of unsafe work practices among trucking operators.

Dawn raid on Coles DC uncovers heavy vehicle breaches
The RMS says it has uncovered heavy vehicle breaches at Coles' Sydney distribution centre.

 

A dawn raid on a Coles distribution centre in south-west Sydney has uncovered multiple heavy vehicle breaches, including instances of overloaded trucks.

New South Wales Police and the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) converged on the retailer’s Smeaton Grange facility at 5am today to investigate allegations of unlawful practices relating to overloading, fatigue management offences and unlicensed drivers.

The operation focused on the retailer and freight firm M&R Transport and led to more than 60 inspections of vehicles across both companies and other firms operating out of the distribution centre.

The raid caps several months’ investigation and may now lead to Coles receiving improvement notices.

"We found 13 minor defects, nine load restraint breaches, one major defect, one weight breach, two unregistered vehicles and other issues which were rectified on site before the trucks allowed to move on," RMS Director of Safety and Compliance Peter Wells says.

"Roads and Maritime and NSW Police will seek to ensure Coles improves its loading practices at its distribution centre and improves management of heavy vehicle driver fatigue."

Wells says Coles management and other heavy vehicle companies involved cooperated with authorities and have been informed of the breaches.

"Unsafe practices such as fatigue breaches, mass breaches and substandard loading practices and load restraint will not be tolerated on NSW roads," Wells says.

Authorities were also checking claims international drivers were operating without appropriate licences for NSW. Immigration checks were carried out on 14 operators who were subsequently cleared.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn says she is not surprised load restraint was the key issue identified in the raid.

"This is something we are seeing when we pull up heavy vehicles, loads which are not properly held in place, endangering other motorists," she says.

The RMS and NSW Police plan to continue targeting distribution centres throughout the year to enforce safe working procedures.

ATN has sought comment from Coles.

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