Report on truck and trailer accident, 15 September 2005

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Egersund Havne Transport AS (EHT AS) had been engaged by Hårr Betongprodukter AS to transport concrete elements weighing 500 metric tons for a new building in Egersund (situated in the south western part of Norway). The first transport started in the morning of Thursday 15 September 2005 and loading took place at the Hårr Betongprodukter AS factory at Vigrestad. EHT AS had two motor vehicles with semi-trailers (hereafter called "truck"); in addition they had engaged one truck from Høiland AS.

At about 0830 hrs the truck from Høiland AS was ready, loaded with three concrete elements, and started the transport. At 1002 hrs on Rv 44 the truck met a slight, open left curve with a slight slope towards Tengs. At the end of the curve the truck tipped over on the right hand side. It ended up laying on its side, partly in the roadway and with the right front side stopped against a tree. The driver was with the seat belt fastened. He was not injured and climbed out of the driver's cabin of the truck by himself.

At 1005 hrs the next truck from EHT AS, also loaded with three concrete elements, met a right curve on Rv 44 near Sirevåg. The truck tipped over to the left while in the curve. It ended up on its left side outside the roadway by the end of the curve. The driver fell halfway out of the driver's cabin and was fatally injured. The driver did not wear a seat belt. This accident site is situated 14.7 km west of the site where the truck from Høiland AS had tipped over two minutes earlier.

Both of the trucks were loaded with three concrete elements. Each unit weighed about 10 000 kg and had a specified height of 3.74 m. The concrete structures were placed standing on the lower level of the semi-trailer’s loading plan. Two A-stools were mounted centrally in the semi-trailer’s longitudinal direction in order to prevent the units from tipping. Two elements were placed on the A-stool’s left side and one on the right hand side. The trucks had a height of about 4.7 m including the load.

The result of the investigation shows that there was breakage on the A-stools that were used on the semi-trailer from Høiland. The A-stools were not dimensioned to carry the lateral forces from the concrete elements which were loaded on the semi-trailer. In the accident near Sirevåg the speed was too high in relation to the critical tipping velocity through this curve.

The investigation has revealed several conditions which have contributed to the accidents and the serious outcome of the accident near Sirevåg. Hårr Betongprodukter AS, who was responsible for producing and installing the concrete elements, did not assume any responsibility in relation to the transporters they had engaged. The concrete producer had not inquired whether EHT AS, as responsible transporter, had carried out safety assessments in relation to the transportation.

Further, the AIBN has revealed that the transport companies lack sufficient competence to carry out relevant safety assessments related to this type of transport. Therefore, they used vehicles and equipment which were unsuitable for the transport. After the accidents both Hårr Betongprodukter AS and Sola Kurs & Kompetanse AS, on behalf of the two transport companies, have implemented remedial measures to address some of the demonstrated safety problems.

Wearing a seat belt is the most probable reason why the driver from Høiland AS came from the accident without injuries. Not wearing a seat belt resulted in the death of the driver from EHT AS. Neither of the two transport companies had internal requirements for their drivers to wear seat belts. The investigation has identified that control authorities (the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and the police) do not task control of the use of seat belts by drivers of heavy vehicles as a priority.

It has also been identified that there is a large gap between the level of competence required to receive a driving licence for heavy goods vehicles compared to the level which is required for a safe transport of large concrete elements. The two drivers had not received necessary additional training to ensure this requirement.

Both of the semi-trailers had an estimated total height of 4,7 m. This was 0,2 m higher than the allowed height, according to the regulations on use of vehicles. In addition they were loaded above the maximum height of centre of gravity recommended for safety reasons by the producer of the shafts. These recommendations were unknown to both management of the transport companies and the truck drivers. Also, one truck drove with an open, friction-driven rear axle, which has a negative effect on the stability of the semi-trailer.

The A-stools that were used for the transports belonged to Høiland AS. They broke in the lower left fastening point of the bottom beam in the accident by Tengs. Calculation of the strength had not been undertaken, and Høiland could not document the stresses these could be exposed to. The regulations do not require periodical inspections with this type of cargo safety equipment (not permanently mounted on the vehicle).

As a result of this investigation, the AIBN has made nine safety recommendations.

Tengs in Eigersund, Sirevåg in Hå
Occurrence date
Accident type
Tipped over in the roadway
Road class
National road
Police Disctrict
Vehicle type
Truck and trailer
Type of Transportation
Freight transport
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