Reducing the more than 200 truck fires assisted by Fire and Rescue NSW each year is one of the main aims of a new guide published by the NSW Environment Protection Authority.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Fire Prevention Truck Inspection Handbook aims to give truck drivers the inspection skills needed to identify and correct faults that could lead to heavy vehicle fires that could put endangering lives, livelihoods and the environment.
“Truck fires are major incidents that can be extremely dangerous and result in smoke and water pollution, cargo loss and extended road closures,” said Karen Marler, director of environmental solutions at the EPA.
Many trucks catch fire due to mechanical or electrical failures that a trained eye could have identified.
The manual will provide a user-friendly guide, developed with the help of industry experts, to show truck drivers how to inspect their vehicles and identify problems before they cause a fire.
It also goes beyond pre-trip checks, helping drivers identify faults – such as overheated brakes and electrical failures – during transport and what to do if a problem develops on the open road. which could cause a vehicle fire.
“No driver wants to experience a truck fire, and the actions needed to avoid that outcome can be as simple as noticing chafing on high-current cables, such as battery cables,” Marler said. .
Non-impact truck fires, according to Marler, were the cause of 8% of all heavy vehicle insurance claims.
“When the cargo consists of dangerous goods, the consequences can be particularly high and pose a significant risk to the safety of drivers, road users and the environment,” she said.
Marler said the manual should be in the hands of every fleet maintenance manager and every heavy-duty mechanic and driver.
“The EPA would like to see the manual adopted as part of regular routine checks,” she said.