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Working toward a safer workplace all year round

As October draws to a close, so does National Safe Work Month. However, there is no reason why you can’t continue to support safe work practices and a healthy workplace culture all year round.

The road freight sector has already seen 40 work-related fatalities to date this year with heavy vehicle incidents, such as collisions and roll-overs remaining the major cause. Sadly, truck drivers have also routinely ranked as the number one occupation for industry fatality rate.

The transport industry alone has also recorded an annual average of 15,000 workers compensation claims with heavy vehicle operators also taking the unenviable title of occupation with the highest claims frequency.

Safe Work Australia warns that although the transport industry fatality rates having decreased in the past decade, we still have a long way to go to meet the fatality target of zero.

Transport & Logistics Risk Engineer, Adam Gibson remains positive that the decreasing fatality trend will continue, believing zero is an achievable number.  

“One of my most recent research projects revealed that, based on current trends, we are on track to see zero heavy vehicle-involved fatalities in Australia sometime between 2032 and 2050. It’s testament to the amazing work the transport industry has done to drive safety outcomes,” he said.

Strains and sprains, burns and circulatory system diseases such as hypertension and coronary artery disease, are some of most commonly reported occupational injuries for transport operators across the country.

Major contributors include sleep deprivation, poor comfort, inadequate diet and exercise, heavy manual handling, and contact with hazardous chemicals and fumes, such as diesel and even excessive sun exposure.

To reduce these health risks, we encourage transport operators to:

  1. Exercise regularly and stretch your legs every few hours to keep the blood pumping, even if it’s only for 10 minutes.
  2. Get 8 hours of quality sleep as often as possible; fatigue is deadly.
  3. Eating healthy is hard when you’re pushed for time. Why not opt for a salad roll instead of a sausage roll at the next truck stop.
  4. Don’t try to lift heavy items on your own; make sure correct manual handling procedures are followed.
  5. Avoid exposure to hazardous chemicals and fumes by being aware of procedures for handling dangerous goods.
  6. Don’t let a lemon do the job; ensure vehicles are maintained and compliant with regulations and check all freight is restrained correctly.
  7. Remove distractions like mobile phones and try to keep the radio at low volumes.
  8. Wear sunglasses, a hat and appropriate PPE if required so you don’t have to contend with the sun’s UV rays while on the road.
  9. Always obey road rules and drive according to conditions.

Read more about how we’re trying to help steer the industry towards a safer, and more sustainable future with our Seeing Machines partnership here.

For added protection, explore our comprehensive range of insurance products designed to meet the unique needs of Australian transport operators.

For more information and to access relevant resources, head to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator or Safe Work Australia