Securing your load

An emphasis by regulators on load restraint is prompting waste transporters to turn to cost-effective tarping solutions, explains West-Trans Group’s Les Carpenter.

Over the years, the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (NSW EPA) and other state and territory regulators have continued to ensure waste transporters are covering their loads.

Waste Management Review made an enquiry to the agency upon industry whispers that it was tightening its monitoring of scrap traders. We asked them whether the EPA NSW would be asking scrap traders to install more effective tarping solutions and if there would be further legislation to ensure it was a requirement for skip loaders and hook lift vehicles.

In response to these questions, a spokesperson for the EPA NSW reiterated to Waste Management Review its proposed new minimum standards for scrap metal facilities, remaining tight lipped on whether the changes apply to transportation. The spokesperson explained the consultation process closed in September 2017, and that working groups with key industry and government stakeholders met in January to explore specific elements of the standard. Once this process is complete, the EPA NSW will release a consultation report and next steps.

On transporting waste, the EPA NSW spokesperson redirected us to its online page on what the general requirements were.

We also spoke to Tony Khoury, Executive Director of the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association (WCRA) NSW. Tony explained that as far as WCRA could ascertain, these proposed standards do not apply to the transport of scrap metal.

“The Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) regulations currently allow scrap metal to be transported in bins and trailers without the need for cover. WCRA is unaware of any proposed change to this exemption,” Tony said.

However, Tony emphasised that the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) 2018 Load Restraint Guide states that loads of all sizes and types should be restrained to prevent any part of the load from unacceptable movement during all expected conditions of operation. The NTC’s updated Load Restraint Guide 2018 was released in February and provides practical advice on how to safely transport a load.

Not only this, the Work Health & Safety (WHS) 2017 NSW regulations state that any person conducting a business or undertaking (PBCU) must provide workers with safe working systems and equipment.

“The fixing of well-engineered, auto tarping systems to hook, dino and skip style trucks that transport waste and recyclable material, is consistent with the need for PCBUs to meet their WHS obligations and to achieve compliance with the principles of the Load Restraint Guide,” Tony says.

“WCRA has also developed NSW waste industry specific compliance material, with the assistance of Roads and Maritime Services, for hook, dino and skip-style trucks, to assist members to comply with the Load Restraint Guide.”

To help waste transporters secure their loads, UK-based TransCover and West-Trans Equipment have teamed up to deliver a series of tarping systems to the Australian market, designed to give operators a light and user-friendly alternative to traditional tarp configurations.

According to Les Carpenter, General Manager of the West-Trans Group, the TransCover system is lightweight, easy to install and economical to maintain.

“TransCover had achieved this by developing a tarp cover that could operate in unison with a hooklift or a skip loader, which it called a HyCover and a Mini HyCover,” Les explains.

“The systems have been specifically designed to help operators of hooklifts and skip loader safely secure their loads, as we are aware of the increasingly emphasis state and federal regulators and advisory bodies are placing on safe transportation,” he adds.

Les says the take-up of the tarpaulin systems in the Australian market since launching in January 2017 has been impressive.

According to Les, the secret to the HyCover and Mini HyCover’s success is that both products use air rather than hydraulics to extend the tower, and a high-duty cycle electric motor to extend and retract the heavy-duty, but lightweight, tarp.

“This results in a system that weighs just under 200 kilograms, which is half the weight of the traditional hydraulically actuated tarps currently being used in Australia, at roughly 70 per cent of the cost,” he says.

“In addition, TransCover also manufactured an entry level tarp system to cater to budget-conscious operators known as the PullCover. The PullCover system is fixed into the load board and operates with a simple spring-loaded drum, similar in operation to a Holland blind. All versions are available with and without side flaps.”

Les also advised that they have asked TransCover to develop both a manual and hydraulically operated DoubleCover system for the large open top scrap trailers that will stay within the maximum width and height regulations in readiness for any tightening of policy in this part of the industry sector.

This article was originally published in the March edition of Waste Management Review