Comments

  • New road safety strategy resonates with H&S thinking
    It's mostly good but doesn't do much to address the core issues of driver competence and attitude.
  • Three ways to reduce fatalities from truck crashes
    There are a number of contributing factors:
    • We have a shortage of around 2800 truck drivers in NZ, so there's a lot of pressure on the existing drivers to work long hours to meet demand. Unfortunately, high demand and scarcity of labour is not translating to higher wages.
    • Truck driving doesn't actually pay that well. A class 2 driver (small truck) might make $22/hr, while a tanker driver pulling explosive liquids might top out at $45/hr. Couple this with the legislated maximum 13 hours per day of work time and up to 70 hours before a mandatory 24-hour break and you've got a recipe for overwork.
    • Large transport companies work on thin margins and don't necessarily pay promptly
    • Owner drivers have a huge investment in the truck itself (a new B-train and tractor unit can top $600,000, or be $6000-7000/month for 5 years on lease) - lots of financial pressure, pressure to cut corners, not do pre-start checks (you can get 5 minutes' further up the road if you don't check your truck)

    There is also a worrying media narrative that influences our thinking about truck crashes: media frequently couches a crash as a truck hitting a car and not the other way around, even if it was the car at fault. Truck drivers are professional drivers and receive much more training than car drivers. They tend to be more aware of their surroundings and the fact the vehicle could weigh up to 60 tonnes. They are at fault in around a third of fatalities that involved a truck. There are lots of stats here: https://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Research/Documents/8764070595/Trucks-2017.pdf (delve into it as it's multi-faceted and too detailed to explain here)

    So, the obvious way to reduce fatalities from truck crashes by 2/3 would be to stop other vehicles crossing the centre line into their path, performing dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, etc. But that would require driver training, which is a discussion we're having in a different thread.

    The other third almost certainly will be helped by better enforcement of work-time rules so that drivers aren't driving fatigued, new truck technology (e.g. ABS isn't anywhere near universal, let alone the kinds of tech we see on cars), trailer rollover and stability training using something like this tanker https://www.masterdrive.co.nz/courses/heavy-vehicle-stability-control-driver-training-programme/ so that drivers can experience what it's like to be in a truck as it starts to roll, etc, etc.

    Peter Gallagher is demonising roads, which is wrong and is not productive. When we accept the 'roads are dangerous' angle, we give ourselves permission to lessen our responsibility for the carnage that we create on them. Roads themselves are rarely dangerous, it's drivers not driving to the conditions that is the problem. If you want to stop crashes, improve the standard of driving.
  • Road safety: fix the driver vs fix the driving environment
    There are quite a few things we can do
    • Periodic education and testing - every 10 years it's ideal to at least do a refresher of the road rules
    • Remove automatic licence entitlement to overseas drivers - drivers of 24 countries can automatically swap their licence for an NZ one
    • Reduce tourist licence limit and remove the loophole of exiting the country and returning again for another 12-month licence
    • Compulsory 3rd-party insurance - we must be the only developed country in the world without this
    • Improve the roads - arterials and blackspots
    • Mandate new technology - this helps freshen the vehicle fleet
    • Change the narrative about road safety ('roads' are not inherently dangerous, it's the conditions)
    • Improve separated cycle networks
    • Sensible public transport options
    • More variable speed limits
    • Passing lane reminders

    I explained them in more detail in this article: https://www.drivingtests.co.nz/resources/how-to-fix-the-road-toll/

    The issue with the 'fix the environment' is that the road environment is just too big. A warehouse is a controlled space with a limited number of potential hazards; roads have way, way more hazards and fewer control points
  • Dehydration and machine operation
    I did make it clear in the article that it was a small sample and I simply repeated the results from the report. However, there wasn't space in the article to discuss other research that had been done about dehydration in vehicle drivers at Loughborough University that showed a doubling of driver errors over a 2-hour simulation period between drivers that were given a cup of water each hour vs drivers that were only given a few sips.
    "Each driver was tested on one day when they were given 200ml of water every hour, and another day when they were given just 25ml – the equivalent of about five sips. On average, the participants made 47 driving errors while normally hydrated – but that number rose to 101 when they were on the “dry” day."

    "Drink to thirst" is not a reliable principle. It's well-known that older people lose their sense of thirst and don't feel thirsty until they are already quite dehydrated. While thirst is not necessarily caused by dehydration, it is the primary indicator. I'd like to see your evidence that you can go for 'quite some time without water before any detrimental effects'.
  • Bunnings slips, trips and falls
    'Salad sizzle' has every bit the alliterative appeal.
  • Bunnings slips, trips and falls
    Surely what would be better for the health of the nation is not to have sausage sizzles at all.
  • Forklift Trucks, F Endorsements and Private Property

    The ACOP covers all powered lift trucks, not specific forklifts. Specific training is done by the PCBU or a nominated trainer and those trainers might create some kind of certificate of training to say that a person has had some kind of training on a specific machine. This is not covered by the ACOP and it leaves it open to any company to create that kind of training. I.e. you could do some training supplied by the distributor or you could do it internally - neither proves ongoing competence and neither are a recognised 'qualification'.

    Competenz now holds a registrar of forklift trainers and provides support services, however, it does not offer forklift training.

    Note that the ACOP is a set of recommendations, it's not law. Section 226(4) of the HSWA says you can comply with the Act in a manner that's different from the Code as long as it has equal or better safety outcomes; the Code has some serious weaknesses, so many companies do use different methods to improve their H&S results.

    The F endorsement is added to your driver licence. Technically you need this if you are operating this in an open, off-road space that the public has access to.

    If a person's licence is suspended, this applies to the F endorsement, too. They can still operate a forklift off the road, but they can't drive a forklift on a road.
  • Forklift Trucks, F Endorsements and Private Property

    WorkSafe has told us several times that we are not to call it an OSH certificate and that the correct terminology is an Operator's Certificate. Personally, when I'm talking about it, I still use OSH certificate if that's what a client understands. The main issue is that the forklift training industry confuses a client's understanding of what's each qualification is, what's required, when it's to be renewed, what happens if it's not renewed, etc and I'm assuming that is simply to enable them to earn as much money as possible and not because they don't understand it. For example, in your first post, you said 2 years, but 3 years is the requirement in the ACOP. You'd be giving your supplier 50% more business than you'd be obligated to.

    Re the definition of a road, NZTA says this:
    Because of the wide scope of the definition, the courts have developed a number of principles that they apply when considering whether a place is a road. These include that:
    • 'public' means the public in general, and not just a section of the public
    • it is not enough that the place is physically open to the public - they must be shown to be actually using it.

    It would be good for NZTA to make a solid definition because if it was rigidly enforced as-is, a large number of companies with one or two forklifts operating in small and medium industrial units would need to get the F endorsement for everyone and road register all their machines. We have enough trouble convincing these types of people to renew every 3 years (if they've even bothered getting an operator's cert in the first place).
  • Forklift Trucks, F Endorsements and Private Property
    Just to clear up the terminology: there is no such thing as a forklift licence or an OSH certificate or an OSH F licence or an OSH endorsement. There is only:
    • F endorsement
    • Operator's Certificate.

    They can be combined into a course or offered separately. Anything else is either something from history or something someone is making up to sell you something (e.g. some kind of 'certificate' that says you've had a go on a certain type of machine)
  • Forklift Trucks, F Endorsements and Private Property
    The F endorsement was slated for removal by NZTA last November, but then the government changed and it seems it's not a priority at the moment. It's basic common sense you would know from driving a car and that was NZTA's rationale (this was conveyed to me at the annual driving instructor's conference). If you have an F endorsement you still need to do the operator's certificate every 3 years, as per the Code.
    Most of our clients who have gate controls or signage treat their yard as a private, enclosed area with no need for an F endorsement or a WoF on the forklifts as long as they don't exit the gates.

    @safetylawyernz - the F endorsement and operator's certificate only prove competence on the day of the test, not ongoing competence. Supervisors should be adequately trained so they can ensure ongoing competence is displayed in the workplace. This is the main problem with forklift training at the moment - if you send your operators out to a course they get some kind of assessment (but not always). The operators return, but the supervisors don't know how to assess, therefore the supervisors can't measure competence on an ongoing basis. We are the only training company that does train the supervisors to do this as part of the operator's certificate course. The other problem with forklift training is that most training companies aren't honest with clients about the requirement under the Code of Practice.

    @john - most of our clients that have open gates with signage and some level of traffic control treat their yard as a private area, i.e. not requiring an F endorsement. Some clients paint lines for pedestrian walkways or put up cones, etc, to help manage traffic flow. I've never heard of anyone being prosecuted by police for operating a forklift without an F endorsement on private property, whereas I have heard of police stopping forklift operators who are on the road to check that they have an F endorsement. We also advise clients on a right-of-way to get an F endorsement plus road-registered forklifts because the case for it being the equivalent of a road is very strong. Give me a call if you want to discuss - 021 222 0888
  • The Athenberry decision and "contracting out"
    I agree with your assertion about steep slope signs. What is a 'steep slope'? Do we have a definition in NZ (I know in some countries it is 1:2.5)? Would all landowners then need to get their land surveyed and every time a piece of land exceeded the threshold they would need to have a sign? Even quite shallow slopes can be dangerous if the quad bike is top heavy and the driver turns at speed.
    The Hesketh Henry email said:
    "To state the obvious, a quad bike is an all terrain vehicle commonly used to traverse difficult off road areas, and so it was reasonably foreseeable that an AgFirst employee could, in contravention of any training or instructions, use the quad bike off the mown tracks."
    Regardless of the industry arrangement, any competent quad bike user knows this is not the case. "All terrain" does not literally mean "absolutely every type of terrain you could ever imagine" just like items called "heavy duty" have durability or weight limits and "sports utility vehicles" can't actually be used for sports. The quad should have come with an instruction manual outlining limits. AgFirst should have been responsible for providing operator training and identifying those limits - perhaps they did and the operator ignored it. If there were mown paths this should have been a strong instruction to any competent operator not to deviate from them. We need to stop relying on signs for the obvious otherwise we'll get sign blindness. While I don't know the difference in length between the mown/non-mown grass, my feeling is that Athenberry appears to have provided an environment in which a competent quad/LUV operator could complete their tasks.
  • Turbans & Hardhats
    About a year ago I frequently saw a young Sikh guy on a Dominos delivery moped in the Freemans Bay area of Auckland, wearing a turban, not a helmet. I'm assuming the police advised him that a helmet is compulsory when riding on the road as I haven't seen him recently. There's no religious exemption for helmets on the road.
  • Forklift Safety Lights
    They look like a good idea. Bear in mind that you can't have a red light shining forwards if you're on a public road (note the broad definition I already pasted above). https://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/rules/vehicle-lighting-2004/ - section 2.1 (16). I'm not sure how your FLT WoF will work if you have non-standard lights because testing officers have been known to fail cars that have halogen lights that have just a slightly blue hue (of course, this isn't relevant if you're only using it in a closed yard or warehouse). You could always turn them off if you have to drive them on the road, as per Phil's suggestion.
  • Immbilising company vehicles whilst moving
    This could be extremely dangerous. When the vehicle is immobilised, does it retain power steering control and brakes? It could cause a huge accident.
  • Forklift Safety Lights
    I'm pretty sure you can't have blue flashing lights on a vehicle if it's driven on a road - http://www.police.govt.nz/faq/is-it-true-that-only-emergency-vehicles-can-use-red-and-blue-flashing-lights . The definition of a road is very broad - <a href="https://www.drivingtests.co.nz/roadcode-questions/car/core/whats-the-legal-definition-of-a-road/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">https://www.drivingtests.co.nz/roadcode-questions/car/core/whats-the-legal-definition-of-a-road/</a>
    So, if they're just used in a warehouse blue lights would be fine, but you wouldn't be able to use them in a right-of-way, public car park, footpath or road. Why aren't the using the standard orange flashing lights which are the usually hazard warning beacons?
  • Introduce yourself here!
    I'm Darren and I've run https://www.drivingtests.co.nz since 2010. My areas of interest are vehicle and transport safety and training.