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Turning data into live-saving advice

Adam Gibson always likes telling people that his job at the industry’s number one insurer makes him the luckiest bloke in transport.

As one of the industry’s most high-profile stakeholders, NTI has its fingers in a lot of industry pies, more often than not with Gibson, its passionate Transport and Logistics Risk Engineer, on the conference or webinar mic sharing its latest data and research.

NTI is known throughout the transport industry for its work in addressing the issues shown in its data with associations, government and regulators.

However, Gibson tells Big Rigs that with the 10th edition of the Major Accident Investigation Report – due out in the second week of June – NTI is excited to expand the scope of how it shares its research and data by providing a range of multimedia resources aimed at operations managers and drivers.

“We started the NTARC reports in 2003 and have spent 18 years putting shape around the problems, and discussing trends and causes,” said Gibson.

“In 2021, we’re consciously evolving to actively influence safety within the industry at the operator level. The report will look and feel the same, but it will be accompanied by materials to help the industry address what we see in the data.

“We can replace trucks, at NTI that’s what we do, but we can’t replace the industry’s most valuable asset – its people.

“We’re all aware that working in transport has been labelled one of the most dangerous occupations in Australia. Changing this has got to be our biggest focus.”

A recent $300,000 grant from the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative for a 12-month  campaign titled the Business of Safety to deliver online, digital and interactive heavy vehicle educational content is the first visible sign of focus on reaching operators, said Gibson.

Gibson believes the industry just needs to work together better to identify issues to fix and be the ones to solve them using the claims data.

The second is a new website portal called the Better Business Hub, where you’ll also find a Driver’s Corner, tips for navigating red tape, and the content from the Business of Safety, among other practical advice, regardless of who you have your insurance with.

“This is our attempt to build a new home for expertise in this space,” said Gibson.

“We want the best library of material sitting there for them [the industry], so if you’re a driver and want to go looking for yourself, or you’re an operations manager and want to address a problem you’re seeing in your fleet, we can make it as easy for you as possible.

“NTI has always prided itself as a stakeholder that isn’t just on the outside looking in, and this is seen as a much more active manifestation of that philosophy.”

Gibson is also excited about the opportunities that the new website, which was officially launched at the Brisbane Truck Show last week, gives the industry for collaboration on ways to improve safety.

The recent NTI Lunch & Learn webinar series he hosted has given Gibson yet another insight into the vast array of expertise and untapped ideas that can be harnessed on the Better Business Hub for the greater good.

By way of example he relays the anecdote of a small timber carter from Gippsland, Victoria, who told the webinar participants about the work he was doing to improve load restraint and how he was using the stability control data he got back as a coaching tool for his drivers.

“I’d far rather we manage our issues because as an industry we have all the expertise to do it. No one knows more about transport than transport, but we’ve got to create the environment where it’s possible.

“At NTI, we’re heavily invested in safety, but we’re not a regulator or a competitor to transport businesses.  That means we’re in unique position to call out successes and celebrate them!”

Gibson said he’d love to hear about the work other operators are doing in the safety space.

“If someone out there is doing something great, if you’ve solved some problem in the industry, reach out. I’ll fly, or drive to interview you to capture the brilliance of that.

Popular truckie Glenn ‘Yogi’ Kendall is profiled on the new NTI website.

“That’s one of the things I love about transport. When I go to a livestockers’ conference in Tamworth, Bendigo or Roma, rather than everyone sitting there guarding and protecting the little competitive advantage they’ve managed to find, they’re out there spruiking it.

“In my experience, the vast majority of people in transport care more about transport than they do about competing with others. They’d rather share their knowledge and see more people get home safe, than hide it and use it to their own advantage.”

On a personal level, Gibson said that one of the most exciting elements of the new site is the inclusion of a Driver’s Corner section.

“Drivers are the most important risk management that exists in transport,” he said.

“They are the frontline risk control that gets themselves home safe and are the ones at the greatest risk, and NTI can help them understand the risks they take.”

Gibson appreciates that comes in-built with challenges, particular if the message is coming from someone sitting behind a desk rather than the wheel of a K200.

He’s also mindful of tailoring the right messages specific to each sector.

“I’m not going to tell someone doing linehaul work up the Pacific too much about rollover crashes, that’s not the risk he needs to most concerned about.

“His biggest risk is falling asleep. So that’s what I want to talk to him about and I’m going to have some uncomfortable discussions as well.

“A lot of drivers aren’t big on the intrusion they perceive of safety technology into the cab. It should be there, that’s the simple reality of it. It is there as your back-up when you make a mistake. To err is human. I haven’t met a perfect human being yet, and I don’t expect I ever will.”

For now, Gibson reckons the industry is in a good place for change with better communication between the halls of power than ever before.

“We just need to work together better to identify issues we can fix and be the ones to solve them using the data and expertise from within our industry”, he said.

“The beauty of all this work is that if we can get industry on the front foot, if we can show we are managing all these issues effectively ourselves, and then go and say ‘these are the missing elements outside our control’, that’s the path to a happier, safer, more productive industry.”

•  Sign up for the Better Business newsletter at nti.com.au/better-business-hub.

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