WorkCover NSW launches safety action plan

Finemore and Watson to be on hand for effort aimed at lowering rates of deaths and injuries

May 14, 2013

NSW Freight Advisory Council Chairman Ron Finemore and the General Manager of WorkCover NSW’s Work Health and Safety Division, John Watson, are due to help launch WorkCover’s Industry Action Plan for trucking, in Orange today.

The pair are to be joined by plan partners NatRoad, Australian Trucking Association (NSW branch), Australian Long Distance Owner Drivers Association, Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation NSW Branch, Livestock & Bulk Carriers Association, Australian Retailers Association, Transport Workers Union, Road and Maritime Services and NSW Police.

Finemore believes the partners are integral to the structure of the plan and its expected success.

"This plan provides a deeper understanding of the safety issues across our diverse industry," Finemore says.

"By giving industry stakeholders a role in shaping the solutions, I am confident they will lead to a significant improvement in safety."

Watson says the plan identifies four issues focus on:

  • onsite traffic management systems
  • loading of trucks and getting out of trucks
  • return to work and injury management
  • driver wellness.

"Inadequate traffic management is a factor in many injuries and fatalities where workers are stuck by vehicles in loading areas," Watson adds.

"Muscular and skeletal injuries are also common when loading and unloading trucks, and getting in and out of trucks.

"We also found there is a need to improve return to work practices through better understanding of the requirements and benefits of getting workers back to work as soon as possible.

The reality of the industry meant the effort needed far-ranging consultation. The industry is one of the states’ 10 highest risk industries with 5,512 injuries and illness and 29 fatalities in the three years to 2010, costing the NSW workers compensation scheme $157 million.

"The complex nature of the road freight transport industry due to contractual relationships and extensive outsourcing results in numerous parties having a responsibility for safety," Watson says.

"The majority of employers are small businesses while some larger employers engage independent sub-contractors to transport goods with others operating their own fleet and employing their own drivers.

"By consulting with business, industry and workers, we have a better understanding of health and safety issues and can take action to address them."

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