ATA hails value of ATSB reporting

Toll Shipping fatality report a close approximation of what road accident report might look like

ATA hails value of ATSB reporting
An image from the report of the back of the ship


In the sort of no-fault investigation the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) champions for truck accidents, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released a report into the death of a stevedore killed by a container tractor trailer.

The man died on Toll Shipping’s general cargo roll-on/roll-off ship Tasmanian Achiever when the tractor was in push mode and he was in the driver’s large blind spot. Warning calls from other stevedores to the stevedore and the driver went unheard until too late.

"Cargo operations on board ships are an inherently dangerous task," the ATSB says.

"Therefore, it is important that hazard identification and risk analysis processes are a continual part of doing business.

"Known risks should be regularly reassessed in light of continued operations, experience and changing technologies to ensure the most appropriate risk controls are in place and being implemented."

The ATA sees the style of analysis as being transferrable to roads to positive effect.

"This latest ATSB report highlights the value of having an independent, no fault investigator look at accidents" ATA chair Noelene Watson says.

"The ATA believes that the ATSB should have responsibility for investigating serious truck crashes where there are safety lessons to be learned."

According to the report, Toll Shipping has advised that, as a result of this accident, discussions with its workforce and Victorian Workcover Authority it has have the following interim safety actions:

  • a review of ship loading operations to improve control of the types and flow of cargo onto and off the ship
  • placed an additional stevedore on deck to improve coordination of personnel and traffic
  • provided additional radios for stevedores and ship’s crew
  • implemented clearly defined traffic control for vehicle entry onto deck.

The company has further advised that it will continue to review these safety actions with the workforce and the Victorian Workcover Authority.

Then ATA chairman David Simon raised the expansion of the ATSB’s role to include road last October.

"One of the reasons air travel is so safe is its accident investigation system. In Australia, the job is done by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which also looks at marine and rail accidents," he says.

"The ATSB looks beyond the immediate causes of accidents to the organisational and management issues that allow them to happen. When it does issue recommendations, it pushes them until it gets an adequate response. Its recommendations and the responses are all public and easy to find.

The point was reiterated in the ATA’s submission to the NTC’s Heavy Vehicle Compliance Review.

The ATSB report can be found here.


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