Truck crashes should get workplace investigations

Truck crashes should get workplace investigations

The TWU is demanding that fatal truck crashes be investigated as workplace deaths when a truck driver is killed, following the death of two truck drivers in a head-on collision on the Augusta Highway in South Australia just before Easter.

Police are investigating driver fatigue as a possible cause for the fiery crash.

Road transport is Australia’s deadliest industry. A truck driver is 13 times more likely to die at work than any other worker.

“We are deeply saddened to lose two truck drivers and in such dreadful circumstances. Our thoughts are with the family and friends who received the tragic news this Easter weekend. We urge the Federal Government to ensure no stone is left unturned in finding the cause of this crash and prosecuting where necessary. Fatigue is being investigated as a possible cause, in most cases this is a direct result from pressure at the top of transport supply chain. To provide justice to the drivers we’ve lost, the families that mourn and the road users at risk over this busy period, it is only right that all possible factors be considered and punishment served where it’s due,” TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said.

When a truck driver is killed on the road workplace death investigations are forfeited, assuming a forensic crash investigation will determine the cause. These investigations fail to explore all possible causes beyond the mechanics of what happened at the time of the crash.

“Truck driver deaths have bypassed the vigilant investigations that rightfully follow deaths on building sites, in factories, in the mines. A truck driver’s workplace is on the road. When the worst happens, we must look beyond the debris and ask the important questions: was this driver fatigued or under pressure to meet a deadline? Was there enough money in the pot to ensure their vehicle was properly maintained? Until we start asking these questions and laying blame where it’s due, truck drivers will never be safe on our roads,” Kaine continued.

Safe Work Australia refers to a workplace as any place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking, including vehicles.*

Police have rated the crash risk three times higher over the Easter break.

“The skewed belief that speedy delivery is more important than road safety is exacerbated at busy periods like the Easter break. We urge the wealthy companies at the top of supply chains to ease the pressure on truck drivers and ensure there is enough money in the pot for trucks to be properly maintained and goods to be delivered safely,” TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said.

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