PASSED INSPECTION: Blenners Depot at Tully and (inset) Les Blennerhassett.
PASSED INSPECTION: Blenners Depot at Tully and (inset) Les Blennerhassett. Alf Wilson

Blenners clears check

AFTER a trying time Blenners Transport in Tully, Queensland, has finally had some good news.

Managing director Les Blennerhassett told Big Rigs the company was cleared after a Queensland Transport and Main Roads spot check.

Mr Blennerhassett is set to front Tully Magistrates Court on July 3 in relation to some 742 alleged charges including chain of responsibility offences, breaching the requirements of an improvement notice and breaching the Basic Fatigue Management Accreditation conditions.

He said those charges came after his drivers were found to be flaunting log book rules and driving excess hours, and the only reason he was now charged is because his drivers did the wrong thing.

"I should have known, so they're charging me," he said.

He also said that his drivers had been trained in fatigue management and should have known better.

"I employ professional drivers."

Now Blenners Transport is taking a tough stance on any wrong doing by drivers and they will sack anyone not prepared to drive legal hours.

"Anyone that wants to drive illegal is getting terminated," he said.

The company is now checking GPS tracking data against log books for four trips a day and 100% of log books on a regular basis.

The company gives drivers three days to get to Sydney/Melbourne, Mr Blennerhassett said, and drivers had been lying in their log books to get home quicker - but vehicle monitoring cameras caught them out. 

"Our trip schedules haven't changed for years," he said.

During the recent spot check 40 pieces of equipment were checked with no faults.

A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said the company had cleared non-conformance issues arising from the spot check on March 4 and 5.

"This does not rule out further compliance checks as with all heavy vehicle operators," the spokesperson said.

In a letter that Mr Blennerhassett shared with the media, the department thanked Blenners staff for their co-operation and support in dealing with corrective action requests.

Mr Blennerhassett said the only issue arising from the spot check had to do with changing information in manuals to reflect that the company would now have driver cameras installed and check 100% of log books.

In a recent letter to customers Mr Blennerhassett said the company prided itself on its safety record - in terms of what was expected of drivers and protecting the public.

"We are members of Trucksafe and we are QMS HACCP-FSS accredited for the safety and quality of transported food products," the letter said.

"Recently the Department of Transport and Main Roads conducted a spot check on our operations.

"We satisfied all requirements of the department and in written correspondence the department advised that no further action is required by us in the areas of Mass, Maintenance and Basic Fatigue.

"Unfortunately what would otherwise be a spotless safety record was put in question by a television article in which one former aggrieved employee of our business made allegations about our safety record."  

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