A poorly loaded import container causes a truck to rollover onto another vehicle, killing its driver. Sadly, poorly-loaded containers causing a heavy vehicle to rollover is not an imaginary scenario. It has happened in Australia and, despite not loading the container, the company who imported the contained has been held legally liable on multiple occasions.
In one case, for example, a 33-year-old father was killed after a container-laden heavy vehicle rolled onto his car.
It was found inadequately restrained building materials had shifted inside the container as the heavy vehicle navigated a bend, causing the vehicle to roll. The consigner was prosecuted, even though the container was packed by an independent third party overseas.
The NRSPP is hosting a webinar in June to outline the safety and legal risks of poorly-loaded containers and how the application of Australian Chain of Responsibility law in this situation assigns liability to the consigner.
Load restraint specialist Daniel Brain will also provide practical strategies for companies importing containers into Australia to reduce their risk as well as preventing rollovers from occurring.
“With this issue, the ability to manage the risk of poorly-loaded containers is removed from virtually every other party in the supply chain,” Daniel Brain says. “The party that has that legal responsibility – and there is case law for this as well – is the party that is essentially importing that container into Australia as the consignor.
“A lot of consignors don’t understand they have this legal responsibility. They think ‘we’re just ordering the goods from China, what sort of legal responsibility would we have?’ because they’re not standing on the wharf packing the actual box.
“But there have been multiple court cases where the judge has essentially found that the consignor has the most ability to control the risk.”