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Sad, bad start to the year for road safety

January 12, 2017

It’s disappointing to have to start off the year with bad news but in the first five days of 2017, three workers in the transport industry lost their lives. Last year there were none in the same period. And in Queensland on 10 January, a truck driver was killed when hit by another truck as he climbed down from his vehicle on the Logan motorway. That’s a terrible start to the year for this sector.

Last year 63 transport workers were killed at work.

The total number of deaths in the transport and storage industry is almost five times the national, according to a study conducted over five years (2007-08 to 2011-12).

Recent Safe Work Australia data shows that vehicle collisions, being hit by moving objects and falls from a height are still the most common causes of death in the workplace.

Last year, analysis from the ABS Work-related injuries survey showed that transport and storage workers aged 35 to 44 years recorded an injury rate 75 per cent higher than the rate recorded by all Australian workers of this age.

It’s not hard to see why the authorities and regulators are taking measures to make our roads safer for all road-users by imposing stiffer penalties on those parties who are found to be responsible for causing accidents and incidents involving heavy vehicles – and not necessarily just the drivers.

Cause and effect

As Geoff Farnsworth, editor-in-chief of CoR Adviser, wrote in the previous edition of the newsletter, “Fatigue may be the single greatest factor contributing to death and injury on Australian roads. This is amplified as roads become more congested and vehicle masses increase.”

The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) states that every party in the supply chain must take all reasonable steps to ensure another person does not drive while impaired by fatigue.

The holiday period can be a busy time for heavy vehicle operators as retail stores and supermarkets restock constantly, so extra care is often warranted.

It’s also an appropriate time to review your safety processes … and even those protocols in your supply chain.

If your company is involved in the supply chain where goods are transported using heavy vehicles, are you convinced your company’s practices are not encouraging drivers, whether or not they are your own employees, to exceed their fatigue limits or speed to complete schedules on time?

Perhaps you’re unsure of your Chain of Responsibility (CoR) obligations? That’s another reason to subscribe to CoR Adviser, which is written in plain English by the transport experts at Holding Redlich lawyers.

Subscribe today to CoR Adviser to ensure you don’t miss any updates to legislation and advice on how to deal with the changes and avoid hefty penalties for breaches under the HVNL.