Truckie's death shows need for sat phones: TWU


TWU wants transport operators to provide satellite phones for their drivers after death of Perth truckie

By Ruza Zivkusic | January 31, 2011

Western Australia’s Transport Workers Union (TWU) is calling on all transport companies to provide satellite phones for their drivers following the death of a Perth truckie who was stranded on Gunbarrel Highway.

TWU State Secretary Jim McGiveron says the death of Anthony John Bradanovich, 35, who had walked for eight hours after becoming bogged when missing a turn-off, could have been avoided if his company Cartwright Holdings, which was contracted by Toll Transport, had provided satellite phones.

"One single good thing that’s come out of this terrible tragedy in Western Australia is that it’s alerted a lot of employers to their requirements; we will need to ramp up our campaign that we have began to ensure proper facilities are provided for truckies going into these remote areas," McGiveron says.

After numerous of talks with Wesfarmers-owned Kleenheat Gas, the company has provided 20 satellite phones to its truck drivers who regularly travel to mine sites, McGiveron says.

"There needs to be communication available which will enable the employer to call for help in the event of an emergency. There must be a procedure for regular contact to be made to the employee.

"We’ve got a campaign at the moment to get all the companies, especially with linehaul drivers, provided with satellite phone communication. It’s a tough battle, but according to a study by Safework Australia the chances of truck drivers dying on the job is 16 times more greater than any other occupation. The TWU will make no excuse for moving in and jumping on companies who aren’t providing safe working places," McGiveron says.

Cartwright Holdings did not return a call for comment.

Toll spokesman Andrew Ethell says the death is being investigated and could not comment further.

McGiveron believes Toll has a duty of care in this case.

"Just because this guy was employed by a contractor it doesn’t mean that their obligation relinquishes. We have already notified Toll that we will take industrial action over a pay claim which includes the provisions of the same agreement conditions," he says.

"All people employed by contractors need to be covered by the same agreement conditions that we apply in any particular workplace."

Bradanovich was heading towards Nemont Mining’s Jundee goldmine in the Goldfields, taking steel mesh from Perth when he missed the turn-off about 5km past the remote Wiluna townsite.




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