Out of a total of 176 work-related deaths last year, 63 were in the transport industry. The next highest industry for fatalities was agriculture at 40 deaths. A safety summit organised by the TWU will take place early next month, bringing together academics, industry and regulators to discuss solutions to the crisis.
“This simply is carnage and the Federal Government is doing nothing about it. Last year they tore down an independent tribunal investigating the pressures on road transport workers that cause truck crashes and now they have no solution to this crisis. Transport workers have a right to be safe at work; the Government needs to honour that right,” said Tony Sheldon TWU National Secretary.
“The Federal Transport Minister recently acknowledged the role that fatigue plays in truck crashes. The only real way to tackle this problem is to ensure drivers are not pressured into driving longer hours. That means stopping the squeeze by the big retailers and manufacturers on the transport supply chain,” Sheldon added.
Safe Work Australia shows that transport workers are already the vast majority of workers killed so far in 2017. This week a truck driver was killed near Drewvale on the Logan Motorway. Last week another truck driver was killed at King’s Park in Sydney’s west. On January 3rd, two truck drivers died following a crash between their trucks and a car at the intersection of Mount Harris Rd and Irrigation Way, Stanbridge.
Reports released by the Federal Government last April acknowledged the link between safety and the pay rates of drivers. One report also showed a system of safe rates, where drivers are paid minimum rates for all their work, would cut truck crashes by 28%*.
Each year wealthy retailers and manufacturers cut their transport costs, putting pressure on transport companies and drivers. This forces drivers to speed, drive long hours, skip mandatory breaks and overload their vehicles.
In the 10 years to 2014 over 2,500 truck drivers and other road users died in truck crashes.