Regulator targets heavy vehicle safety in construction industry

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) recently announced that it will launch an on-road targeted operation focused on mechanical safety and compliance with mass, dimension and loading requirements of heavy vehicles operating in support of the construction sector.The operation will commence this month and run for four weeks across NSW, QLD, VIC, SA, ACT, and TAS, according to NHVR COO Paul Salvati.

“Throughout the operation, we will prioritise education in the first instance to ensure operators and drivers have a clear understanding of the risks associated with non-compliance during heavy vehicle transport activities in the construction industry, and know how to manage them,” Salvati said.

“Drivers and operators should always be practising safe behaviours, such as implementing a daily checklist to ensure the mechanical safety of vehicles or utilising measuring devices, such as tape measures or height sticks, to confirm the vehicle and its load are within allowable dimensions.

“Managing safety risks can help prevent injuries and fatalities, avoid financial loss for the business, evade legal sanctions, enhance business reputation, and create a culture where informed safety decisions are made.”

Reflecting on last year’s construction-focused national operation, Salvati provided insights into the compliance outcomes.

In the last operation, from 1 March to 15 April 2023, the NHVR’s on-road officers inspected more than 1200 vehicles.

Overall, he said 56 per cent of heavy construction vehicles were compliant across all HVNL categories, with high compliance across mass and loading.

“Of the defective components identified, the most serious were in brakes, body and chassis, while others were found in lights and reflectors,” said Salvati, who urged all operators and drivers working in the construction industry to keep safety front of mind.

“Heavy vehicle hazards in the construction industry traditionally include loads not being properly restrained, vehicles exceeding mass or dimension limits and of course, the mechanical safety of vehicles, especially heavy rigid truck, and trailer combinations,” he said.

“These may seem like standard risks, but they are amplified – especially on a construction site – by time pressures, constant loading and unloading, and the frequency of travel alongside other motorists on major roads and thoroughfares.”