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Newcastle businesses targeted in vehicle safety campaign

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of members. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Date: 
Saturday, 22 May, 2021 - 14:45
Category: 
Policy & legislation
Location: 
New South Wales

SafeWork NSW inspectors are visiting transport operators across Newcastle and the Hunter Region to promote safer working practices when loading, unloading and working around vehicles.

SafeWork inspectors will be speaking to operators about requirements to have safe systems of work in place when carrying out activities around heavy vehicles.

“Almost every week we see workers getting injured, or worse, while working around vehicles, whether that’s in a transport depot, unloading on a construction site, loading at a distribution centre or making retail or home deliveries,” said SafeWork NSW executive director, Tony Williams.

“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.”

Williams said 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.

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

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.