The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Speed Fines Shown to Increase Accidents

Graham Marshall - Monday, April 30, 2012

In 2009 State Senator Leland Yee authorized legislation which approved the doubling of traffic infringement fines on four of San Francisco's busiest roads.

The four roads involved in the special legislation included 19th Avenue, Van Ness Avenue, Lombard Street and Park Presidio Boulevard.  The first three roads form State Highway 1 and US Highway 101 as they pass through San Francisco.

But after two years of implementation, the outcome of the doubling of traffic fines In San Francisco has been a significant increase in both traffic accidents and injuries.

The San Francisco Examiner (Sunday April 15th, 2012) reporting on information released by the SF Police Departed shows:

+    68 per cent increase in traffic injuries on 19th Avenue;

+    281 per cent increase in traffic injuries on Lombard Street; and

+   122 per cent increase in traffic injuries on Park Presidio Boulevard. 

Only Van Ness Avenue reported a drop with traffic injuries falling by just 7 per cent.

The San Francisco results are a further example of the lack of evidence that imposing speed fines result in improved safety for road users.

In Perth (WA), the Road Safety Council and Western Australian Government are still trying to con WA motorists that the speed fines are anything other than a road tax on motorists.  Over here in Australia, it's nothing more than revenue raising wrapped up as a "safety campaign".

San Francisco shows the rot at the heart of the road safety campaign in WA!




Amtrack Train Collision

Graham Marshall - Friday, April 20, 2012

It's not everyday that I'm involved in a train collision but while traveling between LA and San Francisco on the Amtrack Starlight Express, the train collided with a car at an uncontrolled intersection in Soledad.

Seeing first hand the results of the collision as the car was literally torn in half was a most sobering experience.

Thankfully, the train did not derail and it appeared that the driver of the car was airlifted to hospital.  I hope they survived!

The train was delayed by a couple of hours - but no big deal given the severity of injuries to the car driver.

Electrical Line Strike Procedure

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Between 2001 and 2011, there were approximately 80 cases of mobile equipment coming into contact with live overhead power lines in Western Australia.

Lines strikes occur on average about eight time per year and a quarter of all workplace electrical fatalities are due to line strikes.

Excavators are the most common pieces of equipment to cause line strikes, followed by trucks, drill-rigs and cranes.

The following actions are recommended should contact be made with a live overhead power line or a flash-over occurs with mobile plant.

+    Stop all work in the vicinity of the incident and summon help to have the power line isolated.

+    Keep all personnel away from the mobile plant, as the equipment and ground could be energized.

+    If assistance is unavailable, attempt to break the machinery’s contact with the live overhead power line.

+   Jumping from affected plant while the power line is still energized is not recommended.

+   However, where there is a risk of imminent danger, such as fire, jumping may be a necessary option.

+   Leap clear of the plant and specifically avoid simultaneous physical contact between the plant and ground.

+   Report the incident to management, any network authority and Resources Safety.

+   An exclusion zone of 300 metres should be maintained around rubber-tyred mobile plant for at least 24 hours.

+   The exclusion zone is to ensure that no-one is put at risk in the event of a tyre explosion.

+   The operator should be sent to have a precautionary electrocardiogram (ECG).

+  Mobile plant that has been in contact with a live overhead power line must be checked for damage.

+  Any necessary repairs must be completed before the mobile plant is returned to service.

New WA law aimed at petrol thefts

Graham Marshall - Sunday, March 11, 2012

Changes to the law in Western Australia are being proposed to crack down on motorists who drive away from petrol stations without paying for fuel.

Under current law, the WA police have to prove a motorist intentionally drove off without paying, making it difficult to lead to a conviction.

But WA Police are currently working on new legislation to remove the excuse of people "forgetting" to pay for fuel and and petrol thieves will be hit with an automatic $500 fine - regardless of intent. 

According to the Motor Trade Association of WA, there are currently more than 50,000 drive-offs a year in the Perth metropolitan region costing an estimated $5 million a year.

The new legislation is expected to be introduced later in 2012 or early 2013.

Dangerous Equipment - Vehicles

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Over the years of working in the safety field, I've come across numerous examples of unsafe equipment in use.

So over the coming week I'm posting pictures of some of the most "infamous" examples of unsafe equipment.

Each photograph can be used in its own right as a daily "safety moment" to highlight the dangers of using unsafe equipment.  Information for use in the tool-box talk is shown below the image.

I've also put the pictures into a Power Point slide show to be used in a tool-box talk.

To access the Dangerous Equipment tool-box talk, visit the blog on Saturday 3rd March 2012 .

Today's example of dangerous equipment shows a vehicle I recently noticed being driven around on site.  Quite a shocker!

Always remember to use the Think 6, Look 6 hazard management process:

Hazards = the kinetic energy involved in the vehicle's motion once it starts to move.  Kinetic energy in the form of stored pressure within the tyre itself;

Triggers = the damaged wheel rim is the main trigger here;

Potential incidents = tyre burst, roll over or vehicle collision; and explosive release of pressure causing people to be struck by flying rubber;

Consequences = death or serious injury in a vehicle accident, equipment damage, travel delay if a simple "flat" tyre;

What should you do to control the hazards?


What are the safest cars on the road?

Graham Marshall - Saturday, February 18, 2012

Car safety expert Euro NCAP has recently completed its latest round of testing of 53 new cars from a range of categories.

Below you will find a listing of the models in each category that finished first and as runner-up:

Large Family Car category - Volvo V60 and Chevrolet Malibu;

Small Family Car category - Ford focus and Lexus CT200h;

Small MPV category - Mercedes-Benz B-Class and Vauxhall Zafira Tourer;

Small 4 X 4 category - Audi Q3 and and BMW X1;

Large 4 X 4 category - Mercedes-Benz M Class and Jeep Grand Cherokee; and

Supermini car category - Chevrolet Aveo and Toyota Yaris.

The Mercedes Benz B-Class was the overall safest car tested.

WA Road Toll for 2011

Graham Marshall - Monday, February 13, 2012

The most recent statistics released by the RAC reported that the WA road fatality rate is still above the national toll per 100,000 people.

The WA Police Service identified that 179 lives were lost on WA roads in 2011; equating to a a death rate of 7.63 per 100,000 people in WA.

That figure lags significantly behind the Australia-wide rate of around 5.53 deaths per 100,000 people.

It is also almost double the death-rate per 100,000 people of European countries like the Netherlands (4.1 deaths per 100,000 people) and the UK (5 deaths per 100,000 people).

This is yet more evidence that the WA road safety campaign with its ridiculous focus on the use of speed cameras is afailure and will remain so until the Government is brave enough to change tack.


Road Deaths in Western Australia is a Disaster

Graham Marshall - Sunday, February 05, 2012

On the 9th January 2012, I posted a claim on this blog that the speed camera campaign on WA roads is a failure in that the average number of deaths on WA roads per year - at around 200 deaths per year - has not changed in the last 15 years.

I've since been subjected to a bit of flack with some people arguing that the road transport death-rate per 100,000 people in WA has decreased - showing that the focus on speeding and issuing infringements from hidden speed cameras is a success.

At the Risk Tool Box, we maintain that the WA road safety campaign with its focus on the use of speed cameras to deter speeding motorists is a 15-year long failure and a massive financial con-trick being played-out on the driving public of WA.  What is worse moreover - is that the safety science behind this disaster just does not stack up.

As further evidence of the failure of the WA focus on the use of hidden speed camera's, I refer to graph below. 

It shows the per capita road death rate for 16 major OECD nations alongside the overall Australian nationwide average (7.6 deaths per 100,000 people) and the WA average - at 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people.

Source: Department of Infrastructure and Transport:  International Road Safety Comparisons.

You will see that the WA average deaths per 100,000 people is nearly three times that of The Netherlands and more than double that of the UK.  It is a even a third higher than the Australian national average with only the NT doing worse.

To put the tragedy of around 200 road deaths occurring in WA every year into some context; just imagine if a fully loaded Qantas Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 168 passengers and 12 crew were killed in an air-crash at Perth airport every year - for the past 15 years. 

Would the Government and people of Western Australia consider that to be a sign of a successful air safety program? 

No - it would rightly be taken as evidence of a colossal failure of Government.  Just the same as we face now with the colossal failure of the WA road safety campaign and its focus on the use of speed cameras to change driver behaviour.

Quite simply, it is a disgrace. 


Outback Journey Management

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The death of a WA truck driver who walked 50 kilometers in + 100F heat in the remote West Australian outback when his truck became bogged highlights once again the need for careful journey management planning when making longer road trips in the Australian summer.
The 35-year-old driver, a subbie working for Toll Transport had no hat and was wearing only a singlet and shorts. 

He died after walking for up to eight hours and he was still 20km from the town of Wiluna, where he was headed.

As is so often the case with these types of tragic events, a few simple risk management strategies could almost certainly have reduced the risk to ALARP.

At the Risk Tool Box, we make the following suggestions when you're planning any major road trip in outback Australia:

1.  Check the basics - enough fuel, state of tyres including the spare, radiator and cooling system;

2.  Plan to drive during the coolest part of the day;

3.  Keep the vehicle cool when parked - use a windscreen heat shield;

4.  Ensure to have enough drinking water for the trip;

5.  Take an emergency tool box and key spare parts (hoses, fan belts, tyre repair kit, etc);

6.  Carry a mobile phone, satellite phone or CB radio;

7.  Register your trip plan - route, estimated journey time, expected time of arrival - with someone you trust to raise help in an emergency (this can be done at a local Police Station); and

8.  Unless you're absolutely certain of your ability to walk to a close-by rescue point (e.g., a farm you can see or a town within a mile or two) in almost all cases, it is best to stay with the vehicle to await rescue than to set off in search of rescue.




WA Road Safety Campaign is a Failure

Graham Marshall - Monday, January 09, 2012


As the chart above clearly demonstrates, the campaign to reduce fatalities on WA roads using speed camera's and traffic infringements is both a 15 year-long failure and a huge financial con-trick being played on  the Western Australian public.

Road Safety and Police Minister Rob Johnson knows that speed cameras will generate  revenue for the Government of $85 million in 2012, but no attempts to reach "target zero" or even reduce the number of deaths on our roads by half are being made.  The easy option is to just blame the public for speeding, and call for more cameras (to generate more revenue for Government).

Another two young men died when this vehicle collided with a tree on Riverside Drive just before Christmas 2011.

The available data from the WA Police Service website shows a simple scientific fact  - the current and previous governments have failed to address the crisis of fatalities on our roads and should be ashamed.

The data illustrates that the total road fatalities recorded each year; the number of pedestrian fatalities; and numbers of cyclists killed has hardly changed since 1997, and in fact, the long-term trend is moving upwards. 

That is a 15 year time-frame in which the revenue raised by speed camera's runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Yet the number of fatalities on WA roads each year remains basically unchanged from 1997.   In fact, there were actually more fatalities in each of the last four years than were recorded way back in 1997!

Any commercial risk management company, working to reduce fatality rates in the private sector who achieved results as poor as this would be out of business in a year.  Never mind having 15 years to show up the monumental waste of time, effort, money - and loss of life.

Because of the colossal failure of the WA road safety campaign - and its misguided marriage of speed cameras and fines - the Risk Management Tool Box calls on the Government of Western Australia to abandon the current campaign. 

How many more people have to die on WA roads before the Government stops conning the people of Western Australia?

There is a common saying in the risk management business that "if you continue to do what you did, you'll continue to get the results that you got".

Unless, and until the Government of WA changes tack and abandons the ridiculous focus on speed and revenue raising, we - the residents of this State - will all continue to see a death toll around 200 fatalities per year.

If you find this an unacceptable prospect, please join our campaign to get the Government to adopt a better approach.

Happy New Year and please drive safely in 2012!

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