Truck drivers 16 times more likely to die at work« Back to News Articles
- The Secretary's Desk
- 25th January 2012
Truck drivers are 16 times more likely to be killed on the job than workers in other occupations, a new Safe Work Australia study has found.
That's a frightening statistic and it backs up the TWU view that overall safety standards in our industry remain unacceptably poor.
In road transport - particularly in the long distance sector - many companies are literally getting away with murder.
The Safe Work Australia study has exposed what everyone in the Transport Workers Union has always known - that a lot of transport firms are putting members lives at risk. And the study carries a lot of weight - Safe Work Australia is a government funded statutory authority.
They say truck driving is the most dangerous occupation there is. More dangerous than construction, farming, fishing and all the other high risk industries.
In the year of the study there were 69 truck driver fatalities. That's almost 25% of all workers who died of work-related injuries that year.
Over the previous five years, 285 truck drivers lost their lives while doing their job.
The study simply gives us the cruel facts - not the solutions.
But we've got a few and one of them is the need for a tougher approach to transport safety by the government agencies responsible for policing and regulating occupational health and safety. In WA that body is Worksafe. But lately I've been getting worrying feedback from our organisers that Worksafe
aren't responding adequately to reports of safety breaches.
Companies who breach fatigue guidelines need to be hit much harder than they are at present.
The TWU is constantly reporting firms who breach the fatigue guidelines to Worksafe, but prosecutions and convictions seem few and far between. The TWU is always keen to publish details of any successful fatigue laws prosecutions by Worksafe in The Wheel. But the only one we seem to hear about
is the recidivist offender Sun Bakeries in Geraldton. But grubby transport firms who push their drivers over the limits seem to escape with warnings at the worst.
The time for cautions is well and truly over. And if Worksafe aren't doing their job then someone has to and that's where the TWU comes in.
Any company manager who is reading this is hereby put on notice that we will NOT tolerate unsafe practices. If you are putting our members' lives and well-being at risk we will close you down until you change your unsafe work practices. We will close you down and if you think we can't do it, or we won't do, you are wrong. And we won't care who we upset.
Why? - Because when a government authority tells us all that truck drivers are 16 times more likely to die on the job than any other occupation, it's time for DRASTIC ACTION.