Company looking at world's first warning system after death of Tauranga truck driver

MATT SHAND/STUFF Paul Rowberry died at a quarry in Kaitemako Road, Welcome Bay, Tauranga.

Paul Rowberry was an experienced truckie, buddying up with new drivers to teach them safety practices.

But on a Monday morning, just over a year ago, the Tauranga father of two had a momentarily lapse that cost him his life.

The 63 year old from Papamoa was killed when the tipping trailer attached to the articulated truck he was in fell and crushed the cab as he tipped waste materials into a Tauranga quarry.

Documents released by Worksafe under the Official Information Act show that Rowberry made an inadvertent error, called an “action-based slip”, when he jack-knifed the truck unit to the trailer while tipping the trailer off.

Company looking at world's first warning system after death of Tauranga truck driver

MATT SHAND/STUFF The waste was being moved and stored at Tauranga Quarry Limited’s Kaitemako Road quarry.

READ MORE:
* Truck flips near Shannon during storm on State Highway 57
* Police release name of man killed at Tauranga quarry
* Driver dies in Tauranga quarry truck roll[1][2][3]

He’d been working as a driver for the family owned Matamata-based J Swap Contractors company since November 2015.

The company employs 500 staff – 130 of those truck drivers.

At the time the company was doing construction at its Maleme St site in Tauranga that involved removing waste aggregate and storing it at Tauranga Quarry Limited’s Kaitemako Road quarry.

Rowberry’s job was to transport loads of waste in a articulated semi-truck and trailer unit from the Greerton site to the quarry, a 12 minute drive away.

On Monday, October 16 he started work at 5am.

He drove to Katikati where his trailer was loaded with material that he then delivered to Te Puna Station Rd.

Around 9am he arrived at the Greerton construction site where around 12-13 buckets of waste product was loaded into Rowberry’s trailer.

Upon arriving at the Kaitemako site he was told by the quarry manager where to tip the waste product. Rowberry made the trip three to four times that morning.

He’d make his last and final journey to the quarry at 1.40pm that day.

Driving in, he went past the loader, made a turn and reversed up to the pile of waste he previously unloaded.

Over the radio the loader driver told Rowberry to lunch at the quarry, to which he replied “will do”.

He then raised the trailer to unload the waste next to his previous drops.

“From a scene examination it is apparent that the driver’s cab was not parallel to the trailer whilst this operation was underway.”

The trailer tipped over and fell onto the right side of the cab. It crushed the driver’s side where Rowberry was sitting on impact.

A loader driver heading up the hill to the lunch room spotted the tipped trailer and raised the alarm.

Rowberry was trapped and died at the scene.

Given there were no witnesses to the actual event, it is not known if Rowberry parked the truck slightly jack-knifed to the trailer before unloading, or inched the truck forward into a jack-knife position while tipping the waste out, the Worksafe report stated.

“It is common practice for a truck driver to get the truck out of gear, turn the PTO on, raise the tipper trailer, then put the truck into gear and move forward slowly as the product coming out of the trailer causes forward momentum of the truck and trailer unit.

“Once the entire product has emptied, the driver stops, lowers the trailer, turns the PTO off and then drives off.

“There is a possibility Rowberry made an inadvertent error called an action-based slip when he jack-knifed the truck unit to the trailer while tipping the trailer off.”

Rowberry had previously trained new employees in the tipping process, teaching them to never jack-knife a truck to the trailer.

Worksafe concluded that Rowberry had a “lapse” and failed to ensure his truck was correctly and safely positioned during the tipping operation.

“They are often made by experienced, highly trained and motivated staff.”

Following the incident J Swap had made changes to it’s driver training including that new employees attend a full induction day.

The company is also attempting to implement a warning system to prevent future tragedies.

There is currently no system in the global transport industry.

Stuff

References

  1. ^ Truck flips near Shannon during storm on State Highway 57 (www.stuff.co.nz)
  2. ^ Police release name of man killed at Tauranga quarry (www.stuff.co.nz)
  3. ^ Driver dies in Tauranga quarry truck roll (www.stuff.co.nz)

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