NHVR says cleans trucks are safer

Heavy Vehicle Regulator says safety starts with cleanliness

truck suspension brakes

Want a safer truck? Get out the pressure cleaner and the truck wash. That’s the advice from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

In a recently released Safety Bulletin the NHVR highlighted the benefits of a clean truck, in particular having a clean chassis/suspension and other underpinnings.

The bulletin highlighted a case from August 2014 when the driver of a prime mover semi-trailer combination was killed after the prime mover’s front suspension failed:

During a coronial inquiry into the incident, it was highlighted that, during an inspection of the vehicle after the incident, a notable build-up of contaminants was identified in the region of the failed suspension component.

“To ensure possible safety, compliance or maintenance issues can be readily identified, a vehicle, and its components and structures must be clean and free of large deposits of contaminants, such as grime, dirt, mud or lubricants that might obscure damage, cracks or other faults.” – NHVR

And the NHVR receommends that heavy vehicle operators ensure their Vehicle Maintanence Schedule (VMS) includes:

  • Periodic cleaning of vehicles, their components and structures so that thorough visual inspections can be
  • Is designed to ensure safety critical components are examined in their entirety at regular intervals, so that damage,
    cracks or other faults are identified as soon as possible and can be rectified before they pose a safety risk.

While the body recommends that personnel involved in the maintenance and routine checking (inspection) of heavy vehicles should ensure they comply with the operator’s VMS in relation to cleaning of vehicles, their components and structures.

  • Before conducting a check or carrying out maintenance, where a component or structure is not suitably clean and free of large deposits of contaminants, it should first be cleaned to allow a thorough inspection to be conducted.
  • When checking or maintaining a vehicle and its components and structures, the maintenance person should consider that faults and failures have the potential to occur at any point where a component or structure is subject to stresses.
  • It’s strongly recommended that components or structures are inspected in their entirety, rather than only partially inspected.
  • For a periodic regulatory inspection (i.e. annual inspection), the inspectors should consider whether they are able to adequately inspect the vehicle to determine its mechanical condition.
  • Before an inspection is carried out, inspectors should ensure the vehicle has been sufficiently cleaned to allow for a thorough inspection of its components and structures.
  • The vehicle should be free from excessive contaminants, such as: grime, dirt or mud, lubricants, such as grease or oil, and any other substance, such as road kill or chemical spills that would obscure the inspector’s view of components or
  • If inspectors are not able to inspect the vehicle because of excessive contaminants, they should refuse to inspect the vehicle until it is presented in a (clean) state that allows them to perform a thorough inspection.

Access the NHVR Safety Bulletin here.

Stay up to date with the latest on Heavy Vehicle Road Safety at heavyvehicles.com.au. 

About Joel Helmes 1676 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Heavy Vehicles. With more than 20 years experience in the media, including more than 10 years heading up the car publication - Behind the Wheel, Joel is passionate about bringing a fresh perspective to the Australian road transport industry. Prior to his media career Joel worked for a number of years as a bus, truck and delivery driver.

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