Dangerous goods case concludes with Toll fine


Stockwell and truck driver dealt with in case heard last year

Dangerous goods case concludes with Toll fine
Dangerous goods placards

 

A New South Wales dangerous goods case has been completed with Toll Global Forwarding, as consignor, fined $75,000 plus Environment Protection Authority (EPA) costs in the Land and Environment Court.

The Toll freight forwarding and customs clearance arm had pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the transport of dangerous goods from Port Botany to Smithfield was conducted in a safe manner in a case that will be seen to include a link in the Chain of Responsibility that critics charge is often missing.

The same case saw transport firm Stockwell International and a driver fined $84,000 and $2,800 respectively last year.

In October 2014, Toll Global Forwarding was involved in arranging the transport of about 16 tonnes of flammable dangerous goods comprising expandable polymeric beads, which are used in the manufacture of polystyrene.

The flammable beads were transported by truck through three tunnels including one on General Holmes Drive and two on the M5 motorway.

EPA executive director of hazardous incidents and environmental health Stephen Beaman says the dangerous goods laws are in place to reduce the risks that the transport of dangerous goods could pose to the community and environment.

"Toll was involved in the transport of the goods and as the consignor was responsible for ensuring dangerous goods were transported safely," Beaman adds.

"Their failures increased the risks posed to members of the community, emergency services and the environment in the event of an accident or spill."

The earlier trial heard Toll had failed to prepare or provide any transport documentation for the goods that complied with the Australia Dangerous Goods Code or that Stockwell was compliant and had acted to ensure its subcontractors were compliant.

Despite evidence that it has been unaware of the dangerous nature of the goods, though they were marked as such, Stockwell was found to have failed to ensure documentation plus driver and truck licensing was up to scratch.

Given he had held a dangerous goods drivers licence previously, it was found that the driver ought to have known the goods were dangerous, given the stickers on the containers, and it followed that the lack of preparedness of his truck related to placards and fire extinguisher along with the route he took through tunnels was his responsibility.

Since the incident, Toll has:

  • ceased using Stockwell to transport dangerous goods by road and now engages Toll Chemical Logistics
  • developed a Release of Dangerous Goods Form that requires a carrier engaged by Toll or by a customer of Toll to transport of dangerous goods by road to certify compliance with dangerous goods requirements before Toll will release the Delivery Order to the carrier
  • provided training to members of its NSW Transport Operations Team and senior management.

Stockwell told the court it had engaged an external consultant to review dangerous goods policies and procedures and produce an internal audit.

The upshot was that it had:

  • adopted dangerous goods policies and procedures including a Hazardous Substances and Dangerous Goods Policy, a Dangerous Goods Policy, Chain of Responsibility Policy, a Procedure for Handling and Transportation of Hazardous and Dangerous Goods, an Emergency Plan for DG Procedure, a Sub-contractors management plan
  • created new forms, including a dangerous goods checklist and reviewed the template for transport documentation to ensure compliance with dangerous goods requirements
  • provided training to staff and management in dangerous goods requirements and has committed to ongoing training and maintaining a training register
  • implemented an ongoing audit program for compliance with dangerous goods requirements by Stockwell employees and subcontractors
  • five of Stockwell employees have obtained dangerous goods driver licences
  • created a register of dangerous goods licenses for its own vehicles, employed drivers and the drivers and vehicles of subcontractors it uses to transport dangerous goods by road.

The driver had applied for and received a dangerous goods driver licence.

The judge found that all of the defendants’ subsequent actions could have been put in place before the incident but took into consideration remorse, cooperation and remedial actions.

 

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