Petrol Tanker Fleet Are "Mobile Bombs" - National Dispute Lodged over Oil, Fuel and Gas Safety

Release date: 4/02/2014

The Transport Workers Union will today lodge a national dispute over safety issues in Australia's oil, fuel and gas industries, with new industry surveys showing 1 in 4 petrol tanker drivers are pressured to break the speed limit, 1 in 3 are pushed to falsify logbooks, and 1 in 2 skip rest breaks and drive while fatigued.

“Petrol tankers are literally mobile bombs,” Mr Sheldon said.
“They’re at the most dangerous end of Australia’s most dangerous industry.
“Yet industry research shows drivers forced to speed, skip rest breaks and fake their log books just to keep jobs.
“Tanker drivers are simply driving too long and too fast. We’ve seen the consequences in crashes like Batemans Bay in 2009, and Mona Vale last year.
“Major petrol clients like Coles need to learn that road safety is not red tape.
“The dispute to be lodged today is will seek binding Federal orders to make this industry take road safety seriously.”
Mr Sheldon said the dispute would be lodged with the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT), seeking action to hold clients accountable for skipping safety checks and setting impossibly low pay rates or delivery times.
“Industry research shows one in four petrol tanker drivers are pressured to drive too fast and half have been pressured to skip rest breaks between shifts,” Mr Sheldon said
“33% of drivers also report they’ve been threatened with job losses if they report serious safety flaws.
“Even worse, 45% of drivers say their employers routinely delay brake maintenance, with one saying his tanker was 13,000 kilometres overdue for servicing.”
The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) was set up in 2012 to address pressures on drivers to drive unsafely. The RSRT can issue binding orders on industry to lift safety standards.
Truck driving is Australia’s most dangerous industry, with a fatality rate 15 times higher than the national average for other jobs. Every year around 330 people are killed in truck-related crashes.
Oil/Fuel and Gas – 2014 Survey results
This survey:
  • More than 90 responses were received from oil tanker drivers in eastern states.
  • 33% of respondents were from NSW, 40% from Victoria, 25% from Queensland.
  • Respondents had worked in the industry for between 9 months and 43 years behind the wheel. Average industry experience was 16 years
Survey results:
  • 33% were threatened with job losses if they report serious safety issues on sites they deliver to.
  • 26% of drivers were pressured to speed while driving petrol tankers
  • 49% were pressured to skip rest breaks and drive while fatigued
  • 26% were pressured to falsify their log books
  • 45% said their employers delayed oil tanker brake maintenance to save money and keep vehicles on the road when they should be in repair.
  • 84% said they have insufficient knowledge of the maintenance record of the vehicles they’re given to drive
  • One driver said their vehicle was overdue for brake repairs by 13,000km. Another said their fleet was routinely between 2000-5000 km overdue for brake repairs.

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