July 30, 2020

TWU audit of covid-safe plans in transport

With the escalation of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria and across Australia, the TWU is carrying out an intensive industry-wide audit of transport companies’ covid-safe plans. Employers have a duty of care to their workers and their families, as well as the communities they serve.

The TWU is vigilant in ensuring not only the safety and health of our members but also the economic viability of our industry as we fight to contain the spread of COVID-19.

If you need to report a concern or incident from your workplace, please contact your delegate, official or use the form on this page.

We’ve given transport companies notice that we require the following:

  1. A copy of their COVID Safe Plan;
  2. All operating procedures and other controls currently in place to control the risk of infection and transmission of COVID within the business;
  3. Copies of all risk assessments regarding transmission and infection of COVID 19 in all areas of the business;
  4. Records of consultation undertaken with workers and Health and Safety Representatives in the preparation of the above risk assessments and controls;
  5. Policy and procedures with respect to masks and other virus-related PPE. In particular, whether drivers are required to wear masks while driving;
  6. With border crossings currently subject to lengthy delays: (i) a copy of policy and procedures in respect of the management of livestock, fresh produce, perishables and refrigerated freight in these instances; and (ii) a copy of policy and procedures to manage driver hours, breaks and mitigation of fatigue risk when drivers are subject to delays at border crossings.

Regarding masks

The union supports the use of masks and other PPE as a means to protect workers and the public. However, it is not practicable to require the wearing of masks inside the vehicle while driving if the driver is alone. As well as being uncomfortable and unneccessary, there are safety implications to this prolonged use of masks:

  • impaired visibility
  • misting of eye glasses
  • elevated levels of CO2 in the blood reducing driver alertness.

Drivers should be required to fit masks prior to exiting the vehicle. This position is now reflected in Victorian state government advice.

TWU calls for end to border chaos

The TWU is calling on the Federal Transport Minister to:

  1. put in place uniform permits and testing requirements for drivers entering closed borders
  2. give drivers access to paid pandemic leave
  3. ensure that retailers and manufacturers do not slash their contract rates during the pandemic
  4. ensure drivers do not have to pay fines for breaches caused by poor systems implemented by their employers or the clients whose goods they are transporting

Click here to read our letter.

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