WorkSafe WA has commenced a proactive inspection program to examine safety issues for commercial vehicle drivers. It will be conducted at road train assembly areas in metropolitan and regional areas of the state.
WorkSafe WA Director Chris Kirwin says the program is being undertaken as an alternative to larger-scale operations such as Austrans.
“The two areas the inspectors will focus on are fatigue management and working in isolated areas,” Mr Kirwin said.
“We think that employers are largely in compliance with WA’s fatigue management laws, but we are still finding companies that are not fully complying with their obligations with regard to fatigue management.
“Most employers now seem to understand that the laws are there to ensure that commercial vehicle drivers are given sufficient rest to allow them to function efficiently.
“However, it is always worth reminding the industry that the human body has limitations, and adequate sleep and rest are essential to safely undertake long-distance driving.”
In relation to the inspections program’s focus on work in isolated areas, WorkSafe WA says that many people have lost their lives in remote locations in the state because they have been inadequately prepared.
Numerous factors, which include extreme weather conditions, remoteness, vast distances and rarely travelled roads, mean anyone who has a vehicle breakdown or becomes lost may not be found for some time.
A minimum requirement for isolated employees under WA’s workplace safety laws is that they are provided with a means of communication and location in the event of an emergency and that there is a procedure for regular contact.
“The inspectors will be checking that commercial vehicles drivers who undertake trips to isolated areas are provided with everything they need to keep themselves safe when they are working in isolated areas,” Mr Kirwin said.
“Even though compliance with the laws appears to have increased over the years, there is no room for complacency and we plan to continue monitoring the industry on an ongoing basis to ensure compliance levels don’t drop off.
“WorkSafe has an extensive schedule of proactive inspection programs with a primary focus on delivering information to employers, but enforcement action will be taken during the program if breaches of the laws are found.
“These proactive inspection programs aim to help employers comply with workplace safety and health laws, and we firmly believe that raising awareness is the best way in which to lessen the risk of work-related injury and illness.”
The inspection program will continue until the end of the 2019/20 financial year.
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