The new Preventing Fires-Truck Inspection Manual by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) aims to give truckies the inspection skills to identify and correct faults that have the potential to cause heavy vehicle fires.
EPA’s director of environmental solutions Karen Marler said the aim of the free manual was to help truck drivers and owners reduce the more than 200 truck fires Fire and Rescue NSW attend each year.
“Truck fires are major incidents that can be extremely dangerous and result in smoke and water pollution, cargo loss, and extended road closures,” Marler said.
Many trucks catch fire because of mechanical or electrical faults that a trained eye could have identified, she added.
The EPA said the manual provides a user-friendly guide, developed with the help of industry experts, to show truck operators how to inspect their vehicles and identify problems before they result in a fire.
It also goes beyond pre-journey checks, helping drivers identify faults – such as overheating brakes and electrical faults – while in transit and what to do if a problem develops on the open road that could cause the vehicle to catch 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,” said Marler.
Marler said that non-impact truck fires were the cause of eight percent of all heavy vehicle insurance claims.
“When the cargo is dangerous goods, the consequence can be particularly high and carry significant risk to the safety of drivers and road users and the environment,” she said.
Marler said the manual should be in the hands of the maintenance manager of every fleet and every heavy vehicle mechanic as well as drivers.
“The EPA would like to see the manual adopted as part of regular routine checks.”
The manual and checklist can be downloaded here.