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RMS Has Sights Firmly On Distribution Centres

Release date: 17/07/2015

Owner Driver, by Brad Gardner, 17 July 2015

Distribution centres belonging to big-name transport clients are in the sights of the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) as part of efforts to enforce chain of responsibility.

RMS compliance chief Paul Endycott says the department is targeting centres to ensure those at the top of the supply chain are meeting their obligations and that inspections will continue for the next year.

The RMS earlier this year pounced on Australia Post’s DC at Chullora and recently finished inspecting a southwest Sydney facility.

"Inserting ourselves into distribution centre allows us to tackle management, senior board executives and influence compliant behavioural changes all the way from that boardroom table to the driver’s seat, which is important for saving lives," Endycott says.

"Since the middle of last year we have targeted and visited 20 distribution centres including…Woolworths, we’ve been to Coles, we’ve been to Australia Post, Star Track and a range of others."

Endycott made the comments at a transport safety summit earlier this year and highlighted the importance of hitting DCs as opposed to individual trucking operations.

"It’s the only way we can get engagement – right from the top and it’s branched out to catch everybody that is going there or has been there," he says.

"Our focus – and I’ve been very vocal in what our focus will be – for the next 12 months is clearly distribution centres."

Endycott says his officers have uncovered issues around fatigue management, pointing out that at one major DC a linehaul truck driver trying to rest had to keep moving around every few minutes to avoid oncoming traffic.

"It’s ridiculous," he says.

Improvement notices have been issued against centres inspected, but Endycott says the RMS is not chiefly concerned with launching legal action.

"It’s not about taking them to court in some instances, it’s about getting a quick fix. And when we walk out of there it doesn’t just end with, ‘we’ve been and there may be a few chats to the staff there’," he says.

"We have what’s called the ‘No shit chat’ with the executive. They are dragged in, sat down and told that they are personally responsible for everything that we have discovered on the day and of course then the process starts to move forward."

Endycott last week warned DCs they needed to take responsibility for ensuring trucks leaving their sites were fully compliant.

He says the RMS is particularly interested in executives who try and gain an unfair commercial advantage at the expense of compliant businesses.

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