ATA, TruckSafe to focus on safety

5 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 18, 2019

The Australian Trucking Association will restructure to increase its focus on safety, ATA CEO Ben Maguire announced.

In the restructure, the ATA will combine its TruckSafe, Safety Truck, safety promotion and safety research activities into a single section within the organisation.

A new safety, health and wellbeing director will head the section. Melissa Weller, currently the ATA‘s safety and skills adviser, has been appointed to the role.

“Until now, the ATA has operated TruckSafe as a separate business unit to the rest of the ATA. This has resulted in duplication. We have also missed out on opportunities to cross-promote what we do,” Maguire said.

“The restructure will enable us to leverage more benefits from the expertise of the TruckSafe board and will place safety accreditation and promotion at the centre of the ATA‘s work. It will bring TruckSafe into the mainstream of how we work as a team.

Maguire said the restructure emphasises ATA‘s commitment to TruckSafe as an important part of the future of truck safety regulation.

“TruckSafe accredited operators do not receive the same regulatory concessions as NHVAS operators, even though they need to meet higher standards. This is not just unfair and anti competitive; it discourages operators from being in a higher quality scheme.

“Our first submission to the Heavy Vehicle National Law review proposes that safety-based schemes like TruckSafe should be formally recognised under the law, with the NHVR regulating safety schemes and auditors rather than trying to run one.”

The restructure follows Justin Fleming‘s decision to leave the ATA after 10 years with the organisation.

“During Justin‘s tenure at the ATA, he always demonstrated an unwavering commitment to promoting TruckSafe as the best safety management solution for Australian trucking operators, regardless of size,” said ATA chair Geoff Crouch. “Justin‘s dedication and passion have ensured that many companies have benefited from the TruckSafe product and improved their safety.”

“As the chair of the ATA – and as a TruckSafe accredited operator – I‘m looking forward to the future of TruckSafe. The restructure will deliver a compelling vision for the scheme‘s future and a safer, healthier industry,” he said.

TruckSafe chair Ferdie Kroon said a large number of industry people, from all walks of life, have benefited and continue to benefit from Fleming‘s excellent work.

“In conjunction with Justin, the TruckSafe board has worked very hard on the future of our product. At our next board meeting, in July, we‘ll hear a pitch for a new digital platform. We‘ll also work on how we can further simplify our standards and guidance material,” he said.

Weller said that her vision, as a safety practitioner, was everyone should get home safely, every day.

“Safety links to every aspect of business. You simply can‘t have a productive and viable business if it is not a safe business. I am very excited to have this opportunity to lead the ATA‘s safety communication, TruckSafe safety management system and safety, health and wellbeing education. We have started vital actions in these areas, and I am looking forward to getting results with our very motivated and safety focused ATA community,” she said.

Weller has managed safety projects for eight years. In 2016, she was recognised by the Institute of Public Works and Engineering Association awards for excellence and was a 3M Diamond Road Safety Awards finalist for a safety project she coordinated across nine local government areas.

She is leading the evidence-based redesign of the Volvo ATA Safety Truck education campaign. Weller has an MR licence and has completed vocational training in fatigue management, traffic management and road safety auditing.

During her career she has held senior roles in strategy and policy development, road safety and business development. She was recently elected to the Executive Committee of the Australasian College of Road Safety.