Coates Hire is known as the largest equipment hire company in Australia, with hire assets valued at around $1.7 billion. However, the company is also a very large transport operation, with around one million movements conducted every year, from its own truck fleet and from external transport partners.
With the updating of Chain of Responsibility (COR) laws for the transport industry in 2018, Coates Hire has reinforced its proactive approach to transport safety by installing truck-weigh scales at its largest branches. The goal of the scales is to avoid breaches of transport legislation and COR regulations, and to promote a transport operation with no accidents and no fines.
Scott Pirie, Coates Hire Transport Compliance Manager, says the truck-weigh scales are in the process of being installed at the 12 branches that deal with the largest pieces of equipment, such as generators, earthmoving and access machinery. They include Moorebank (NSW), Dandenong (Vic) and Belmont (WA), where substantial loads are put on trucks for delivery.
He says Coates Hire’s equipment fleet is very diverse, and as equipment has changed size and weight over the years it has become harder to have an accurate listed-weight for every item on a truck.
“We’re focused on safety for ourselves and the public, and we decided to better control the loads on our transport vehicles by weighing them before they leave the yards, rather than relying on what weight the equipment is listed at,” says Pirie.
He says gross weight is only one issue. “When you have large loads, it’s the axle weights and the weight distribution that matters most. These are the things that alter brake and tyre performance, and they are the factors that can stop the suspension systems operating safely and efficiently.”
Pirie says the portable scales will support current dispatch protocols where the weight of loads are advised to transport companies prior to leaving the site. This will be in addition to the Coates Hire ‘Driver’s Guide’ and the ‘Load Restraint Guide’, both of which are best-practice protocols for safe loads and driving.
“We have a very good safety record in the Coates Hire transport operation, but it’s only a good record because we work on it with training, protocols, communications and technology. Once the first twelve machines are installed and working, more will be rolled out to the other branches.”
He says the weigh scales are portable, which means in the future they could be installed at busy civil projects where Coates Hire is shifting traffic barriers and generators from site to site.
“We shift a huge range of equipment on a daily basis. Being precise about our weights and placement makes for better safety for the public, customers and our employees, and a more efficient operation overall.”