Transport and logistics workplace risks in spotlight

Government and insurance sources have highlighted separately the dangers facing drivers and other workers

September 11, 2013

Government and insurance sources have highlighted separately the dangers facing transport and logistics workers.

Despite major listed enterprises reporting steady decreases in workplace accidents, injuries and deaths due to the impact of their safety policies, the ‘transport, postal & warehousing’ sector leads the list of deaths by workplace.

Safe Work Australia’s latest figures put the sector, at 28 deaths so far this year, one tragedy ahead of ‘Agriculture, forestry & fishing’ and almost twice as many as ‘Construction’ at 15 and three times as many as ‘Manufacturing’ at nine.

The respective totals for the whole of last year were 74, 50, 23 and 17, with no other workplace in double figures.

As of September 3, 112 Australian workers have been killed while at work.

Hot on the heels of the release of the statistics, online insurance service listed its "most dangerous jobs in Australia".

It uses a different measure but the grim outcome was that truck drivers came third, behind only those involved in commercial fishing and miners.

"Federal Government figures showed that truck drivers are 10 times more likely to die while at work than any other occupations," the service reports.

It warns that workplace injuries occur more often than is generally appreciated and that age, an issue that commercial transport grapples with, is an important factor.

"Accidents can happen to anyone and in any working environment," it adds.

"In 2010, there were over 12 million workers in Australia and 5.3 per cent of injuries or illness that occurred were work-related - that’s 53 incidents for every 1,000 employees.

"The risk of a work-related injury is more prominent especially for men between the ages of 45 and 54, with 66 injuries per 1,000; and women aged 45 years and over, with 59 injuries per 1,000.

"Work-related injuries can affect anyone working in a blue collar or white collar occupation, although higher number of incidents are often found within manual blue-collar occupations such as labourers, at 88 per 1,000; operators and drivers of heavy machinery at 86 per 1,000; and trade workers, at 78 per 1,000."

Some of the injuries or illness suffered in a workplace environment include, but are not limited to:

  • Chronic joint and muscle conditions
  • Sprains or strains
  • Fractures or crushing injuries that can cause internal organ damage
  • Superficial injuries, such as cuts or open wounds
  • Stress or other mental conditions.

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