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Many operators not up to scratch on audits, Delta-V finds

Delta-V Experts says many audits are exposing defects, and warns fuel carriers to expect visits once authorities finish with Cootes

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | November 29, 2013

Not all safety audits of trucking companies that are given the tick of approval are fault-free, a forensic engineering consultancy firm claims.

Delta-V Experts Road and Transport Safety Consultant Roger Sanders says operators are cutting corners and foregoing effective maintenance audits.

Out of the 50 audits that his team conducts annually, many are found with maintenance issues, he says.

“We find that not all cases where they’re marked as being OK are really OK,” Sanders says.

“We find that everybody has got a lovely bookcase with beautiful documents and well-bound folders but it’s all in the bookcase.

“When times are tough people cut costs and corners and unfortunately in some cases those maintenance costs lead to a failure of a component in a truck.

“A failure that may have been directly responsible for the death or injury of somebody.”

The Melbourne-based firm believes operators should focus on physical audits that require the presence of mechanics.

Sanders expects to see more audits of fuel tanker companies take place once the Victorian Government completes checks of Cootes Transport, which was involved in the fatal Mona Vale crash near Sydney.

“I’m aware that the authorities are going to go through all the other fuel carriers when they finish what they’re doing with Cootes,” he says.

“Those fuel carriers should be having independent people go in and do proper audits. There are some excellent companies out there and what we have to do is follow the lead of the excellent companies and walk that extra mile.”

Sanders says trucking firms need to make sure the people working for them are qualified to do the work they are asked to perform and that someone within the company is checking on the work.

“I’m sure that if the companies are doing that the issues associated with failures are going to be reduced dramatically,” he says.

While some firms may forego maintenance and thorough audits due to time constraints, Sanders warns of potentially serious consequences if a defective vehicle is involved in an accident.

“You might say it takes time to do a physical inspection, but how much time does it take and how many trips between Sydney and Melbourne does it take to make up in $300,000 legal fees? And that’s without replacing the vehicle involved in the crash,” he says.

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