Report on fire in heavy goods vehicle in the Oslofjord tunnel on national road 23 on 5 May 2017

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Description

English version now available. The Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN) has investigated a fire in a foreign heavy goods vehicle consisting of a tractor unit and semi-trailer. No persons sustained serious injuries in the incident, but response and rescue personnel had to evacuate two road users who sought refuge in one of the tunnel’s emergency shelters. The investigation has revealed several similarities with the vehicles that caught fire in the Oslofjord tunnel in 2017 and 2011.

The heavy goods vehicle was loaded with toilet paper, and the vehicle caught fire inside the tunnel when driving up a slope towards Drøbak. The AIBN’s investigation has shown that this fire, like the fire in 2011, occurred as a result of engine failure. The fire escalated quickly, and within a short time the heavy goods vehicle was ablaze.

Whilst the tunnel was in the process of being closed there were some delays in the lowering of the barriers at the tunnel entrances, and several vehicles managed to drive into the tunnel before and whilst the barriers were going down. Among these were two heavy goods vehicles that continued driving all the way to the scene of the fire before stopping.

The heavy goods vehicle, including its load, was completely burnt out. There were also incipient fires in the two heavy goods vehicles that stopped behind the burning vehicle. The fire service’s good and coordinated extinguishing effort was decisive to the fire being extinguished and limited to only one vehicle in this situation.

The investigation has focused on the cause of the engine failure. Technical findings and video material from the tunnel have helped explain the cause of the fire. The contributory factors to the fire can be related to overloading of the engine, and the investigation has revealed indications of inadequate maintenance. An animation illustrating the engine failure has been created and is available for download.

The investigation has also focused on the safety follow-up of the Oslofjord tunnel, and several safety problems have been identified:

a) There is no comprehensive nonconformity system where faults and deviations in the tunnel’s safety equipment can be reported and technical operational statuses can be monitored and followed up.

b) Several faults and deviations in the tunnel’s safety equipment were not revealed at periodic inspections.

c) It has not been the Norwegian Public Roads Administration’s practice to follow the internal guidelines in manual R511 for safety approval of tunnels in operation.

d) The Norwegian Public Roads Administration as the tunnel manager has not kept the emergency response plan for the Oslofjord tunnel up to date in accordance with the requirements of the Tunnel Safety Regulations.

e) The Norwegian Public Roads Administration as the tunnel manager has not organised regular drills in the Oslofjord tunnel in accordance with the requirements of the Tunnel Safety Regulations.

The AIBN has issued four safety recommendations on the basis of this investigation.

Safety recommendation

Safety recommendation ROAD No 2018/05T

The investigation of the fire in the Oslofjord tunnel on 5 May 2017 has revealed several technical deviations in the tunnel’s safety equipment. Several deviations were known to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration before the fire, and new unknown deviations were also revealed during the fire. The investigation has shown that there is no common internal nonconformity system for the tunnel’s safety equipment that gives the tunnel manager the possibility of monitoring the technical safety operational status on a running basis.

The AIBN recommends that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration establish a comprehensive nonconformity system for logging, handling and following up of faults and nonconformities relating to the Oslofjord tunnel’s safety equipment.

Safety recommendation ROAD No 2018/06T

The investigation of the fire in the Oslofjord tunnel on 5 May 2017 has revealed that periodic inspections have not been sufficient in revealing faults and deviations in the tunnel’s safety equipment. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration has also deviated from the requirements in its own manual as regards to renewed safety approval of tunnels in operation by changing practice without stating further grounds for this. The investigation of this incident has identified a need to follow up the safety level in the Oslofjord tunnel with regular inspections and approvals.

The AIBN recommends that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration comply with the requirement in its manual concerning safety approval of tunnels in operation through regular comprehensive inspections.

Safety recommendation ROAD No 2018/07T

The investigation of the fire in the Oslofjord tunnel on 5 May 2017 has revealed that the emergency response plan that applied at the time of the fire was dated 16 July 2012. This had been prepared with outdated traffic volume figures. The investigation has also revealed that there were several faults in the tunnel's technical safety equipment during the incident, and that the emergency response plan did not address corrective measures in the event of failures in technical equipment.

The AIBN recommends that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration bring the emergency response plan up to date in accordance with the requirements of the regulations, as well as requirements and guidelines in its manuals.

Safety recommendation ROAD No 2018/08T

The investigation of the fire in the Oslofjord tunnel on 5 May 2017 has revealed that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, as tunnel manager, has not organised regular drills in the Oslofjord tunnel in accordance with the requirements of the Tunnel Safety Regulations. The last full-scale drill in the tunnel was carried out on 31 May 2012, five years before the fire.

The AIBN recommends that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, in cooperation with the emergency services, plan and execute regular drills in the Oslofjord tunnel under as realistic conditions as possible.

Location
The Oslofjord tunnel
Occurrence date
05.05.2017
Accident type
Fire in vehicle
Road class
National road
County
Akershus
Police Disctrict
Follo
Vehicle type
Truck and trailer
Type of Transportation
Freight transport
Road region
Eastern Region
Accident category
Ulykke i tunnel
Skriv ut
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