Coates Hire spells out safety across supply chain

(L-R): Coates Hire transport compliance manager Scott Pirie and group manager of transport logistics Jairus Houghton.

Coates Hire has created two safety guides for truck drivers and load restraint protocols to promote and embed safe processes across its network of machinery transportation partners.

Coates Hire is one of Australia’s largest equipment solutions providers with over 150 facilities across the country and hundreds of types of equipment.

The company runs a fleet of approximately 180 delivery vehicles, ranging from a one tonne ute to a semi-trailer super tilt and has over 350 transport partners. Collectively these vehicles complete upwards of 1000 equipment movements per day.

With such a diverse range of equipment and transportation modes, the company looked at how it could improve safety processes pertaining to requirements such as the National Heavy Vehicle Law (NHVL).

From there, the Coates Hire safety guides were created with a central goal of being a standard document for users to access clear, concise information on safety technicalities and requirements.

For National Transport Safety Week 2021, Coates Hire is focussing on key safety and chain of responsibility practices of its drivers and transport partners, emphasising core principles promoted throughout the drivers and load restraint guides that were launched in late 2020.

The guides serve as a key tool to improve the safety of drivers and the community across Australia.

The first of the guides, the Drivers Safety Guide features a safety charter to define the standard of operating safety when transporting and delivering Coates Hire equipment.

Simplicity was key to the second document, the Load Restraint Guide which has pictorial representations for a wide range of equipment and truck types.

“We wanted to minimise the amount of reading that you have to do. This was done to make it quick and simple to understand, to ensure it’s used,” Houghton said.

“If you have an excavator, a roller or whatever that might be, you can go to the Load Restraint Guide to find out how to secure it.”

Coates Hire then had each guide externally assessed to ensure the information is in-line with best practice.

“We engaged Engistics, a load restraint engineer company, to assist with creating the guides. Engistics were also involved in the development of the National Transport Commission Load Restraint Guide so they are extremely credible in Australia,” Houghton said.

“They did all the calculations for friction, vector analysis and force analysis to ensure the information documented was correct. They went through different vehicles and equipment and consulted with drivers to make sure the guides are practical for transport teams to use.”

Coates Hire transport compliance manager Scott Pirie said the guides were also transferable across industries.

“A lot of our transport partners transport equipment for building sites and the agricultural industry which have similar equipment to ours. So the guides can be used across a multitude of situations,” Pirie said.

Over the course of Transport Safety Week, Coates Hire will be engaging with its transport partners and drivers to gain a better understanding of their thoughts about the guides and overall safety within the Coates Hire business.

“Monday we engaged with our transport partners to ensure the company inductions process is followed, Tuesday we gave our teams a refresher on the Load Restraint Safety Guide and Wednesday we looked at ensuring our loading and unloading exclusion zones are compliant,” Houghton said.

“On Thursday we’ll be looking at vehicle maintenance and driver fatigue to make sure our drivers have the time and equipment they need to safely complete the transport task. Friday we will be looking at education in regard to matching trucks and equipment to ensure no overloading of trucks can occur.”

The recently developed Coates Hire MyFleet application will, in conjunction with the guides, play a large role in streamlining vehicle maintenance for the company’s transport vehicles.

Using the MyFleet app enables drivers to complete the daily maintenance checks on their vehicles as required under National Heavy Vehicle laws simply by logging into the system and answering a set series of questions about the state of the vehicle.

Any minor or major defects can be immediately identified and service jobs raised to ensure rectification of the faults.

Pirie said Transport Safety week would be about making sure transport safety processes and procedures already existing within Coates Hire were front of mind at all times when conducting transport related activities.

“We want to address any gaps within our transport partner system as well, so that we can help them with their systems and businesses in a holistic approach,” he said.

The development of these guides and the evolving suite of safety solutions provided by Coates Hire will aim to protect road users and the wider community.

“Coates Hire has a moral obligation to ensure our equipment, that is on roads every day, is safe in the communities we serve,” Houghton said.

Pirie added: “In busy times, we can deliver up to 800,000 moves of our equipment every year and any one of those touch points can have an incident. We need these documents to assist us with reducing those risks, because if we can stop just one single incident, that can make a huge difference – and in the worst cases, potentially save a life.”