Road transport safety standard promoted

Road transport safety standard SANS 10231 provides for basic logistics safety management.

Most trucking incidents in SA are head to tail collision at night, raising questions about visibility, shift work, eyesight, speed and following distances.

The N3 toll road concessionary logged 307 accidents involving trucks on the N3 highway between Johannesburg and Durban, in six months, from January to June 2011.

Head to tail collisions at night reveal problems with “vehicle visibility, driver wellness, eyesight, and speeding”, said Keith McMurray, a dangerous goods consultant, at an open Chemical and Allied Industries Association (Caia) Responsible Care (RC) Transport workshop roadshow in Durban and Johannesburg in September 2011.

Most trucking accidents occur on Thursdays and Fridays, suggesting that “truck drivers may have been tired at the end of the week,” said McMurray. The rate of nearly two accidents per day, on just one major highway, and the large cost of incidents, are cause for concern.

Human factors account for most fatalities on South African roads. These include pedestrian jay walking, falling asleep at the wheel, intoxicated pedestrians or drivers, disobeying traffic lights, turning in front of oncoming traffic, keeping close following distances, and speeding.

Road transport safety standard SANS 10231

The transport workshop explained requirements of the SA standard, SANS 10231 on transport safety, as well as requirements of the SA Safety and Quality Assessment System (SQAS) and occupational health of professional drivers.

SANS 10231 requires consignors, operators, qualified persons and drivers to be equally responsible for transportation safety and dangerous goods legislation. However, other aspects of health and safety like driver wellness, health management, training and fatigue must also be considered.

SA SQAS transport audit

Richard Durrant, owner of Transheq Consulting, said that the South African Safety and Quality Assessment System (SA SQAS) was acknowledged as one of the most comprehensive transport audit protocols in southern Africa.

Caia recommends haulier companies that have been audited to SA SQAS. The system is no guarantee of safety and quality of transport service, but offers a mechanism to help reduce risks and instigate continuous improvement.

Route risk management

Michael Jordaan, supply chain risk manager at Sasol Group Services, presented route risk assessment as a transport safety tool.

Route risk assessment identifies and evaluates risks associated with transportation of specific products and goods on specific routes, lowering probability of incidents by identification of recommended and alternative routes, weather conditions, safe stopping areas, hotspots and so-called black spots.

Risk assessment also reduces consequences of potential incidents by minimising impacts on people, property and environment, partly by sensitising emergency services on route.

Jordaan recommends that these elements be considered in route risk assessment:
• Dispatch and final destination (gate to gate)
• Alternative modes of transport (road, rail, pipeline)
• Proposed volumes and frequencies of loads
• Driver and journey management (travel times, distances)
• Product specific information (MSDSs)
• Nature and type of possible incidents (fire, explosion, toxicity)

Truckers need wellness

In response to frequent trucking accidents, Trucking Wellness had introduced mobile wellness centers that drivers can access along the road. There are also wellness fund treatment programmes and referrals for ill drivers who could not afford treatment.

A new workplace programme educates drivers on ailments such as HIV, cholesterol, hypertension and lifestyle issues like poor diet and interrupted sleep.

PHOTO; Road transport and trucking shift work, wellness, following distances and visibility are among the factors causing almost two rear end trucking collisions per day on the SA N3 highway, mostly on Thursday and Friday nights.

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