FBT Transwest: Safety first

A new generation of dynamic leaders is coming through the tanker industry that demands the strictest policies and practices to ensure the safety of both employees and the general public.

One company that is setting the bar high is FBT Transwest, a family owned business based in Tottenham, Victoria. FBT Transwest’s energetic Managing Director, Cameron Dunn, has a commitment to safety that is simple and from the heart – he knows how dangerous the industry can be and wouldn’t want an unsafe vehicle to put his own family or any other family at risk.

For a company like FBT Transwest, which is specialised in moving and storing dangerous goods and hazardous materials around the country – including hydrofluoric acid, toxic gasses, liquid chemicals, but also powdered products and food grade commodities – taking responsibility is especially important.

“From our perspective, the disciplines and business systems you need for food are the same as for dangerous goods. There are lives at stake, be it from contamination or explosion, it’s up to us to ensure our people, our customers’ product and the community are safe,” says Cameron.

In a move to create a safer industry, FBT has trained over 40 WorkSafe officers through its affiliation with the National Bulk Tanker Association (NBTA) in the last 18 months. “We took them through a process to show them what you need to do and what you need to look for in tankers,” Cameron explains.

Cameron is well suited to the training role, as he has been working with the bulk equipment since he was 17, with his first job cleaning out tankers before working as a clerk for the original United Tankers business, then moving on to the CRT Group in 1993.

Cameron took on various jobs at CRT Group before joining FBT Transwest in 2010. Working in all facets of the logistics business has given him a well-rounded perspective of the industry, but there’s even more to it – it was while working for the CRT Group that Cameron converted to a new safety belief system.

“I was lucky enough to take the CRT business to a Lost Time Injuries Frequency Rate of zero,” he says proudly. “My point of view is that everyone has the right to come to work and go home from work safely.”

He adds, “It’s about beliefs as well. You can have all the systems and accreditations you want in the world but unless you and your people believe that we need to be safe, it just won’t happen – and that’s not just at work, that’s at home as well.

“The success of our safety record comes back to beliefs. You need to look at what people live for and if you can put “I need to be safe” around those top five things they want to achieve, then that’s half the battle; and that’s the cultural aspect, and that for me is what safety is all about.”

According to Cameron, an “all-encompassing business management system” can help achieve consistency in that context. “I believe in having one system that meets all different criteria. For example, we are ISO accredited and we are Fatigue, Mass and Maintenance Management accredited through the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS).”

The list of standards the company is accredited for under its overarching system includes EPA waste, MHF WorkSafe standards, food cartage and hazardous materials storage. “There is a commonality in the different accreditation systems but some businesses try to do it in bits and pieces at a time. We have one system and are accredited at all our different sites.”

Cameron says being accredited and being members of associations gives his clients and the community the confidence that the company is serious about what it does. That’s why FBT Transwest, as well as being a member of the NBTA, is part of the Victorian Transport Association, a member of the Bulk Liquids Association and the Plastics and Chemicals Industry Association.

“We are involved in various associations because we want to share our knowledge and give back to the industry, which is very important,” he says. “It is important to share the messages and get involved for us to make the industry and community safer.”

The philosophy of safety transcends through to the equipment the company chooses. “I’ve been in the industry nearly 30 years and I have learnt that I must put myself in the driver’s shoes and ask what’s most important to them. The answer is understanding the environment in which they work in and ensuring that they get home safely.”

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