Scott Hannah, Managing Director of Hannah's Haulage, shares his advice on truck and trailer security in light of recent incidents that have impacted his fleet.
Hannah recently reported that in the space of a week he had three trucks with slashed curtains and product stolen while one of his heavy vehicle operators was resting.
“One bloke tried to steal our muffler,” he recalled. “My driver woke up and he ran; all bolts were loosened and almost ready to take off.”
Hannah urges heavy vehicle operators to park in popular, well-lit parking bays either in the open or at a service centre if access to a secure yard is limited.
“When a downturn like this occurs, whether it be from Covid-19 or the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), it seems to bring the worst out in people,” said Hannah. “People panic and think it's their right to look after themselves before anyone else. Companies do the same by delaying payments on invoices in order to hang onto their money longer. The general public can keep an eye out and report anything suspicious to the police and give the truckies a wave from time to time.”
In consultation with government officials on the subject of security at truck stops, Hannah said the industry needs better facilities in all major towns and cities. This includes: gated truck stops with better quality facilities, amenity blocks, exercise facilities, restaurants, BBQ areas, grocery stores and doctors.
“These truck stops, or we could call them 'Truck Epi-Centres', for a more futuristic approach, would widely benefit from the installation of weighbridges with forklift availability to move freight if required,” said Hannah. “These sites would also benefit from truckwashes, government offices (for licence renewals, log books, etc.) and up to 600 parking bays in major cities for Performance-Based Standards (PBS) vehicles to hook up and tow multiple trailers to the next city.”
NSW Police Chief Inspector, Phillip Brooks, shared an industry alert this week which reinforces a series of toolboxing tips for drivers.
- He reiterated security can be simple: lock vehicles at all times and keep keys safe; know where the vehicle is and who has access.
- In terms of load, it is worth asking: Is it secure? Is it something of value? Also, it is recommended to check the load regularly, especially when time has been spent away from the vehicle.
- Do not pick up hitchikers and have a security plan in the event something happens.
- Check in, if you don’t already as part of your fatigue management plan, then consider using a reporting system during or on completion of a job to confirm the safety of the driver and the location of the vehicle.
Brooks also reminds drivers to be aware of their surroundings; make security a normal part of the conversation (add security to toolbox talks); if hiring drivers always check for the right licence and other genuine documents; and do a practical test to make sure new drivers know how to operate the vehicle and keep it secure.
It is aso wise to report any unusual behaviour as soon possible. This can include: people, taking photos of infrastructure, loitering near depots and erratic driving. As for vehicles, parking close to sowewhere that could be a target and returning for no reason, especially somewhere that will attact crowds, can be considered unusual.
Hannah added the industry is working especially hard at this time as Covid-19 is making it difficult to have more than one driver in a vehicle to keep the workplace clean and people safe.
“If we work together and use common sense with more flexibility, the work will get done easier, be patient and lend a hand then things will move along a little faster,” he said. “If all major distribution centres took delivery all night a lot more could be achieved. Major transport companies take deliveries well into the night, after hours. Drivers would rather unload as soon as they get to the other state, all major suppliers should do the same. Think outside the square and you will find an answer, we must all engage and prepare for the future of the transport industry.”