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Guidelines to make a truck breakdown site safe

Guidelines to make a truck breakdown site safe

Following the identification of safety issues around heavy vehicles and trucks in breakdown situations, the Victorian Transport Association’s On-Road Operators Group together with WorkSafe Victoria and experienced industry representatives created the Truck Emergency Breakdown and Roadside Safety (TEBARS) Guidelines.

Drawing on real-life situations and using on-site photography to clearly show drivers; ‘Do’ and ‘Do Not’ procedures, the TEBARS guidelines are broken down into three major stages.

1.    Preparations for the operator in case of a breakdown

This reference checklist is designed to ensure that the equipment and personnel are properly prepared in the event of a breakdown or emergency, covering key aspects of:

  • Training
  • Visibility
  • Vehicle set up
  • Communication

2.    Actions for the driver during a breakdown

While breakdowns are usually unforseen, regular vehicle maintenance is key to keeping roadside breakdowns and emergencies to a minimum. Ideally, if a breakdown is occurring, the driver should try to stop the vehicle in a location that provides as much as clearance as possible for passing traffic.

This checklist covers the main risk factors and recommendations to minimise them, including:

  • Vehicle stability and position
  • The breakdown location should try to allow for 3 metres of clearance from passing traffic.
  • Appropriate consideration must be given to vehicle breakdowns that involve dangerous or hazardous loads, with the relevant authorities being notified and strict safety protocols being followed.
  • If unable to minimise the breakdown’s risk to traffic, options include calling the Police or local State Roads Agency to provide traffic control or having the vehicle towed to a safe work area before attempting repairs.
  • Actions to take following the breakdown, ensuring the area is clear of any debris such as tyre treads, broken fenders, etc.

3.    Points to consider for roadside repairs

The Emergency Roadside Repairs phase involves assessing the situation and arranging a traffic management plan if necessary. Points in consider are included in the Guidelines, covering aspects such as:

  • The type of mechanical or repair work to be carried out
  • Likelihood of major changes in local conditions during the duration of the task
  • Time of day
  • Weather conditions
  • Presence of pedestrians or cyclists

At National Heavy Haulage, we work hard to maintain our excellent safety record. We apply world’s best practice standards to our vehicle maintenance, route planning and continuous driver education to avoid the risks associated with truck breakdowns. In the event that they happen, our drivers follow the TEBARS Guidelines. The complete Truck Emergency Breakdown and Roadside Safety Guidelines are available online.

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