HIGH ALERT: A spike in on-road truck fires has sparked a safety warning from NT Worksafe.
HIGH ALERT: A spike in on-road truck fires has sparked a safety warning from NT Worksafe.

NT issues truck fire risk alert

NT WORKSAFE has issued a new safety alert to operators highlighting the increased fire risk in heavy vehicles and mobile plants when maintenance or modification work does not follow the recommendations of the original equipment manufacturer.

The warning comes after a spike in on-road truck fires in the Territory, many of which have resulted in significant damage or the vehicle being totally destroyed.

Investigations into the various incidents have found a number of maintenance or modification-related factors contributed to the fires, including:

  • Maintenance work not incorporating the latest safety updates from the OEM
  • OEM guidelines not followed when fitting additional equipment or accessories, including in some instances electrical wiring not installed to industry best practice.

It was also found hydraulic and fuel hoses were failing due to:

  • Fitting additional hose protection, which reduced the service life of the hose
  • Increased wear and tear on incorrectly routed hoses due to chaffing or interference with other components
  • Incorrect alignment of clamps and grommets on hoses
  • Loose or damaged clamps not being identified and changed out
  • Failure to change hoses in line with OEM recommendations
  • Hoses installed with insufficient length, causing additional stress on the hose, especially to the connection point to the fitting.

NT WorkSafe advises operators to take the below steps to help reduce the risk:

  • OEM safety updates should be immediately incorporated into maintenance work, including fitting upgraded parts as they become available in line with OEM recommendations
  • Modifications or the installation of additional equipment are done in line with OEM guidelines and to industry best practice
  • Systems should also be in place to identify and manage after-market equipment or unapproved modifications to vehicles or machines
  • Review the fitting and routing of all hoses to ensure they are in line with OEM guidelines
  • Inspect hoses at intervals recommended by the OEM or in the absence of OEM guideline as recommended by a competent person
  • Remove any shielding or guards to aid in the inspection
  • The installation of Fire Suppression Systems, including the location of activation control, should be consistent across the fleet
  • Ensure all operators and drivers are aware of the emergency procedures in the case of uncontrolled fires, including how to activate any installed Fire Suppression Systems
  • Operators and drivers, where possible, should view the actual deployment of the Fire Suppression System.
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