Diverseco (Australia) - Road safety is a serious issue in 2022 and is a major driver of increased compliance legislation facing logistics operators. Whilst HGV road fatalities have been thankfully trending downward over time, there is still a concerning amount of overloaded/poorly optimised load specific accidents that are occurring throughout Australia and New Zealand. This has not only been terrible news for state and federal Governments, but also for the organisations and operators involved.
At the centre of these issues are poorly managed vehicle safety and risk management systems belonging to businesses that aren’t aware of, or outright ignore, the necessary steps to take in ensuring the safety of both their drivers and other road users: we see this very often. Common occurrences in these kinds of operations are vehicle operators “free-guessing” the weight contained within their vehicles: vans, trucks, skip bin collectors, loaders; you name it and we’ve seen it. It’s a deeply concerning practice that is very common if the right systems and procedures aren’t in place or utilised for vehicle operators to take full advantage of.
It’s not just road safety that free-guessing vehicle loading is problematic for: breaching Chain of Responsibility legislation (and being heavily penalised and fined for it), reducing your actual operating efficiency through not optimising your payload, continually paying for weighbridge use, not optimising the load times of your vehicle, and lesser use of inter-vehicle space, are all ways in which free-guessing is letting you down.
So, what are the systems and procedures that vehicle operators should be taking advantage of and why?
Overload Monitoring Systems:
The first step to take would be to provide your vehicle operators with the tools and equipment necessary to properly monitor what is going on inside of their truck so that the guesswork is removed. The equipment in question are systems specific to vehicle types, such as our V-Weigh for rigid vans, utilities, and light vehicles, TruckWeigh for trucks, BulkWeigh for tippers, BinWeigh for bin lifters, and WasteWeigh for loaders and skip trucks. These systems are installed (retrofitted or installed in new builds – they’re incredibly flexible) on the axles of these vehicles or on the underbody. They are designed to feed information to the driver (via an integrated dashboard display) that displays varying amounts of information relating to current payload and axle load weight and distribution, to name a few. The information displayed will vary according to the system model.
Vehicle Operator Training:
Onboard vehicle systems are only as good as the vehicle operators using them. These systems come with comprehensive training resources which provide your operators all of the system-specific information they require. In addition to this, our specialists are available to assist you along the way: we are committed to not just seeing these systems installed, but are committed to seeing your operations benefit from their correct operation.
It is important, however, that standards and practices are created in order to effectively utilise these systems, as again, they are only as good as the vehicle operators using them. Knowing the limitations of these systems is important, as for some systems (V-Weigh and TruckWeigh) these aren’t measurement systems; rather they are overload monitoring systems. You might be wandering: what’s the difference? Why is this important?
Overload Monitoring vs. Payload Measurement:
Operations that profit through selling measured loads of product, such as gravel, sand, quarry materials, etc, require systems that can accurately (and are calibrated and proven to weigh what they proport to) measure the total weight of the to-be-sold load. These legal-for-trade operations require layers of accountability in the form of precise instruments that are installed onto the vehicle (weighing forks, axles – it depends on the vehicle and the operation) that display and record the accurate (within a few %’s) weight readings of the payload being measured. Operations that sell product by weight in this manner run the risk of major penalties if they do not utilise a system that is certified legal-for-trade. We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your operations compliant.
On the other side of the comparison are the more commonly found Chain of Responsibility specific systems that, while it might seem like they measure payload by measuring gross vehicle mass, are not legal-for-trade systems and thus are not for charge-by-weight operations. These systems, as we’ve outlined earlier in the article, do one thing and do it well: monitor your gross vehicle mass and axle weight distribution. These systems are an added layer of protection against the hazards of an overloaded vehicle: driver and road safety, major fines, penalties, and loss of license. It’s not worth the risk and we’ve seen operations come to a standstill after being caught operating an overloaded vehicle.
If your overload monitoring systems are correctly installed, calibrated, and your operators abide by the overload warning alerts, you will have the most effective layer of protection next to preventing your vehicle from moving at all. These systems coupled with effective vehicle operator training mean that your operations should not suffer infringement penalties due to overloading again.
What this has meant for our clients is:
- Peace of mind;
- Safeguarded for mass load management;
- Chain of responsibility compliance;
- Optimised payloads, and;
- Their operations are more profitable as a result.