As people globally gathered for International Worker’s Memorial Day, a time to remember those killed or injured at work, the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) was calling for attention about the safety of transport workers.
The TWU urged action to improve transport workers safety, given that they have the highest workplace death rates of any industry.
According to Safe Work Australia almost 40 per cent of all workplace fatalities involved transport workers this year. Out of the 51 workplace deaths, 19 of those fatalities were transport workers.
Last year 64 transport workers lost their lives, which accounted for one third of all workplace fatalities.
The National Assistant Secretary Michael Kaine blamed the federal government for an increase in transport worker deaths.
“The Federal Government bears responsibility for this increase in deaths,”
“A year ago the Government tore down this independent tribunal.
“Now transport workers are paying for this move with their lives.
“Now truck drivers are under more pressure to speed, drive long hours, skip mandatory breaks and overload their vehicles.” Mr Kaine said.
Not everyone agrees, in fact the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) Chief Executive Officer Warren Clark believes the tribunal may not have been the answer, but believes changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) could be the key to safety improvements.
The establishment of the RSRT in 2012 was meant to promote safety in the road transport industry however it had the opposite effect. He went on to explain,
“The establishment of the RSRT in 2012 was intended to promote safety in the road transport industry,”
“In fact, the very opposite occurred because the complex and controversial workings of the RSRT diverted owner-driver and other member attention away from the developments in the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) – the primary instrument governing road regulation and safety.
“The HVNL covers the major safety issues of speeding, fatigue and heavy vehicle maintenance.
“Compliance with this law is at the centre of improved road safety.
Mr Clark went on to state that the significant reforms introduced through the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) needs education and the right enforcement to ensure its effectiveness.
“The significant reforms introduced through the HVNL, including duties on parties in the chain of responsibility, need time to be properly implemented with education and appropriate enforcement.”
Every year International Workers Memorial Day takes place globally on April 28 to commemorate everyone killed or injured at work.