WorkCover NSW recently launched a program aimed at reducing workplace injuries and illnesses and improving injury management in the road freight transport industry after it was identified as one of the state’s highest risk industries.
In the past three years there were 5512 claims for injuries and illness in the road freight transport industry at a cost of $157 million, the majority involving motor vehicle incidents, manual handling and falls.
This includes 29 fatalities and WorkCover NSW has made it a priority to develop, in partnership with industry, new approaches to improve safety during 2012.
The road freight transport industry includes bulk freight, long distance and short distance trucking – all of which operate in a complex industry structure, said general manager of WorkCover NSW’s work health and safety division, John Watson.
“It includes more than 36,000 workers involved in a variety of tasks ranging from local parcel delivery through to intrastate transfer of retail and wholesale goods as well as interstate movement of bulk goods and containers,” he said.
“The majority of employers are small businesses while some larger employers engage independent sub-contractors to transport goods while others operate their own fleet and employ their own drivers.
“These complex contractual relationships and extensive outsourcing arrangements result in a number of parties having an impact on safety, and through this project WorkCover aims to understand and address the safety issues related to each of them.”
As part of the program, WorkCover will visit 30 businesses, both road freight transport companies and those who utilise their services, to compare issues identified by WorkCover with what employers and drivers are experiencing as well as discuss possible barriers to improving safety.
The project is part of WorkCover’s new flagship work health and safety program, 10/5/5, which involves working with the NSW community to improve safety in the state’s 10 highest risk industries.
“We need to delve deeper and identify ways to improve safety in the industry so it can be among the state’s safest rather than highest risk,” said Watson.