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Workplace Safety – Road Transport Industry

Grim Reality

The road transport industry has enjoyed steady growth over the past decade. However every year inadequate safety precautions cause people to lose their lives. Tragedies affecting workers, as well as bystanders, such as the 14 year old boy who died in a crash caused by an untrained transport driver in 2015, are all too frequent. [1] Between 2003 and 2015, 449 road transport workers were killed in collisions alone, dozens of drivers were killed in 2015, and over 5000 legitimate workers’ compensation claims are made every year. [2] Although improved safety precautions over the last ten years have resulted in significantly fewer injuries and fatalities than in the past, the industry still has a long road to travel. [3]

The Risks & How to Help

The grim statistics demonstrate how high the stakes are, but is there anything employers in the road transport industry can do to help? Fortunately, although some level of risk is unavoidable, there are many achievable actions employers can take to help keep their workers safe. For instance:

  • Time pressure: unrealistically tight deadlines incentivise dangerous behaviour such as driving while fatigued and speeding. This can be addressed by the simple act of loosening driver timetables, freeing them to make responsible decisions. [4]

  • Health: road workers are at risk of becoming fatigued and unhealthy because of the irregular hours they work and the lack of opportunities they have for physical activity. A life lived on the road can also encourage workers to indulge in a poor diet. Employers can encourage workers to be healthier by introducing promotions such as wellness workshops and then backing up their message by providing drivers with perks like flexible hours permitting real meal breaks and exercise. [5]
  • Manual tasks: workers are at risk of being injured whilst they manually handle freight cargo by lifting overly heavy objects, working in awkward postures and using (or being supplied with) incorrect equipment. In fact, 30% of injuries in this industry are the result of manual handling. [6] Supporting workers with adequate equipment, training, work environments and schedules is highly effective and may even save money to boot – the average manual handling related injury costs a whopping $17,000 on top of the human suffering caused. [7]


Shine Lawyers

If you, or a loved one, have been affected by a road transport injury, Shine Lawyers’ expert workers’ compensation or motor vehicle accidents teams can help. Get in touch today so that an expert can assess your situation and show you the best way forward in a free, no-obligation consultation.

[1] https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/statistics-and-research/statistics/fatalities/fatality-statistics
[2] https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/transport
[3] https://www.workpro.com.au/improving-safety-in-australias-transport-and-logistics-industry/ & https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/transport
[4] https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/145137/physical-mental-impacts-on-safety-in-transport-supply-chain.pdf
[5] http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/49931/safety-in-the-road-freight-transport-industry-1129.pdf
[6] http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/49931/safety-in-the-road-freight-transport-industry-1129.pdf
[7] http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/49931/safety-in-the-road-freight-transport-industry-1129.pdf

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Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: May 17, 2018.

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