BP crash sparks first NHVR safety and compliance alert


NHVR moves swiftly to reveal likely cause of triple fatality earlier this month

BP crash sparks first NHVR safety and compliance alert
Sal Petroccitto releases details so operators can act on promptly

 

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has pre-empted any official findings on the fatal Wodonga tanker trailer crash for safety reasons.

Two women and a boy died when a four-axle dog tanker trailer decoupled from a BP towing truck near Wodonga two weeks ago.

The NHVR was heavily involved in coordinating a safety audit of BP’s fleet nationally in the aftermath.

Now the regulator has issued its first safety and compliance alert to industry following the early observations of crash investigators.

"Investigators have established that, in this case, the thread on the nut and the rear of the bolt has failed," the alert says.

"The tow eye bolt has pulled out from the tow eye housing (block) on the drawbar of the trailer."

It has five advisory items for operators of this sort of combination:

  • consider whether your maintenance system will detect any looseness in the fitting of a tow eye
  • this component is not easily tested by hand and any looseness may not be visible when a trailer is stationary after braking
  • review how your inspection system detects other possible issues, such as cracks in the tow eye housing (block) or any kinks or cracks in the drawbar.
  • consider whether you would voluntarily fit supplementary chains (safety chains) to heavy trailer drawbars
  • any supplementary chains should be installed by a qualified person and aust be properly maintained and secured when in service.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says the alert was released ahead of the completion of the investigation since it offered important and practical advice that operators could act on promptly.

"Our mission is to ‘facilitate, innovate, regulate’, and issuing timely safety advice to industry is one of the key tasks of a national Regulator," Petroccitto states.

"Our advice to operators who are working with dog trailers, pig trailers and road train dollies is that they should read this safety advice closely and should consider actions they can take to assure the integrity of their trailer or dolly coupling systems, with a particular focus on the tow eye fitment.

"Our safety and compliance alert outlines the facts so far and identifies issues for operators to consider should they undertake inspections."

"I need to stress that the frontline investigation continues to be led by Victoria Police and we are providing this advice without comment as to any contributory cause to the collision."

Petroccitto also emphasises the NHVR’s national remit.

"As a national regulator, we are very aware that safety doesn’t stop at the border," he says.

"We are working with our frontline compliance arms in all states to make sure the right information is shared across all agencies and to determine what coordinated action authorities can take to prevent this happening again.

"I acknowledge the support of Victoria Police and the Victorian Transport Industry Enforcement Liaison Committee for their support in preparing our first safety alert."

NHVR Safety and Compliance Alert 1/2014 can be found here.

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