Industry News

Vehicle safety campaign targets Newcastle

SafeWork inspectors will be visiting transport operators across Newcastle and the Hunter Region from this week to promote safer working practices when loading, unloading and working around vehicles.

The Safety Around Your Vehicle Compliance Project is about getting SafeWork inspectors speaking to operators on the requirement to have safe systems of work in place when carrying out activities around heavy vehicles.

Almost every week workers are injured, or worse, while working around vehicles according to SafeWork Executive Director, Tony Williams.

These incidents occurred at transport depots, during unloading on a construction site, loading at a distribution centre or while retail or home deliveries are made.

“Many of the incidents are not driving related, but happen as people work around the truck or vehicle. These visits are not about driving habits, they’re about safe work practices around the vehicle. To help achieve this, we will have up to 12 inspectors visiting sites across the region,” said Williams.

“The visits are about addressing safe loading and unloading practices, the importance of properly immobilising heavy vehicles and promoting the separation of people, product and plant at all workplaces,” he said.

“We have been undertaking widespread transport industry consultation to identify the highest priority risks, and this is part of our response to those issues.”

A number of serious incidents have recently happened in the industry including in April where a worker suffered serious leg injuries when the truck she was working on rolled away from her on a property near Oberon.

In late 2020, a 50-year-old mechanic suffered fatal crush injuries in Tumut while working on the brake line of a tipper truck, and a 52-year-old tow truck driver was fatally crushed by a prime mover as it rolled off a tilt tray semi-trailer in Newcastle.

The compliance visit follows on from the recent launch of SafeWork NSW’s Safety Around Your Vehicle Glove Box Guide, which ensures those working in the heavy vehicle industry have access to the most up-to-date safety information.

“We are ensuring workers in the industry have access to the best safety information possible,” said Williams.

“This guide contains information on everything from conducting a vehicle pre-start check to information on what to do to prevent an unintentional roll away, as well as advice on loading and unloading vehicles.

“We have a strong focus on a good work-life balance for our staff, across workshop technicians and apprentices, parts interpreters and customer service advisors.”

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