Heavy vehicle operators now have a comprehensive guide to heavy vehicle safety with the launch of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator's (NHVR) revised National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual.
The manual provides a simple guide to what makes a vehicle roadworthy. Although designed as a compliance tool for assessing roadworthiness, heavy vehicle operators can use the manual in routine maintenance programs to ensure compliance with vehicle standards and improve their vehicle's safety.
The NHVR Director of Safety, Daniel Elkins, said by maintaining vehicles above the standards in the manual, operators can ensure their vehicles will pass an inspection and avoid the downtime associated with unscheduled repairs and maintenance associated with component failure.
The manual details practical information about wear, damage or changes to important components and systems that will assist in performing in-service inspections by owners, operators and administrators.
"The manual sets out specific criteria where manufacturer specifications are not available and provides clarity where there is no detailed guidance from a manufacturer.
In the busy transport industry, vehicle maintenance can sometimes be just about keeping the vehicle running. The NHVR wants to see the industry develop preventative vehicle maintenance systems that have a greater focus on safety.
"The manual provides an inspection approach to guide industry to not just look at repairing but to see potential defects during maintenance inspections. Importantly, it's not just about fixing what's broken, it's about inspecting sub-systems that may be at risk with continued wear and undertaking proactive maintenance," Mr Elkins said.
Adopting a proactive maintenance approach may take time for some operators within the industry to develop. The NHVR will work with industry to develop resources and provide tools to assist them to incorporate the NHVIM into their maintenance program. The manual will apply nationally as of 1 July 2016.
Mr Elkins said vehicle inspections are not just about passing; they are about ensuring that the vehicle is safe to be used on a road.
"We will continue working with industry to improve roadworthiness and enhance heavy vehicle safety".
The National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual can be downloaded from www.nhvr.gov.au/nhvim