Companies, Clients Should Face Jail Over Fatal Crashes, Says TWU
Release date: 16/08/2016
TWU SA/NT BRANCH MEDIA RELEASE, 16 August 2016
The Transport Workers’ Union has called for more accountability at the top after charges were laid against a waste company for a horror crash in Urrbrae in which two people died.
Waste operator Cleanaway faces fines of up to $12 million over safety breaches including inadequate training for truck driver Darren Hicks who was involved in the 2014 crash. Despite having to ground its entire fleet because of defects following the crash, the company faces fines while Mr Hicks faces possible jail.
“The driver, as has happened in many cases before, is carrying the entire burden for an industry in crisis. The company will pay fines but this young driver’s life is ruined – all because of a company which chose not to prioritise safety,” said TWU SA/NT Branch Secretary Ray Wyatt.
Transport operators are not the only ones at fault. Major retailers, manufacturers and governments are continually cutting transport costs. Because of this, trucks are not maintained, drivers are not trained and drivers are paid low rates, forcing them to speed, drive long hours and skip breaks.
“The Federal Government, backed by their mates in the South Australia Road Transport Association, tore down a tribunal which was examining the transport industry for financial pressure on companies and drivers which results in safety risks. This system was holding wealthy clients to account for the low cost contracts they give to transport operators to deliver their goods and collect their waste. They also must answer for their actions which has left our industry less safe,” he added.
A survey of transport operators by Safe Work Australia in 2015 shows 20% are willing to break safety rules to meet deadlines -compared with 6 per cent of employers in other industries.
Sue Posnakidis, whose brother John was killed in a truck crash in Adelaide in 2010, says too many people are being killed because of pressure in the industry. “My brother’s death was no accident. He was killed after a fatigued, inexperienced driver, driving a truck with faulty brakes, crashed into him. Until those at the top of the transport supply chain are held to account for these dodgy practices, nothing will change,” she said.
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