New report says 20 per cent of 2015 work-related deaths were in freight and logistics
Almost one in four work-related deaths involved the Transport, postal and warehousing industry over the past 13 years, according to Safe Work Australia’s Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, Australia 2015, released last week.
The new report, which details the statistics of people who die as a result of injuries as the course of their work and does not those injured during the commute to and from work, says the freight movement industry accounts for 24 per cent of all work-related deaths since 2003.
The numbers make the industry the second most dangerous for workers, with the past 13 years seeing the fatality rate in every 100,000 workers sitting at 10.6.
While the 2015 number sits at 6.6 and continues a trend in the right direction since 2007’s high of 15.5, the industry still made up 21 per cent of the fatalities across the year.
In terms of numbers, 2007’s high of 83 deaths was more than halved in 2015, with 40 deaths recorded.
Topping the list is the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, with its 13-year average of 17.0 consistently remaining around that mark since 2003.
Across the two industries, they made up almost half (47 per cent) of the worker fatalities in 2015.
When it comes to a state-by-state breakdown, the Northern Territory is the safest region for transport, postal and warehousing workers, with 15 deaths from the 754 total fatalities over the past 13 years.
Next in line are Tasmania (20), South Australia (42) and Western Australia (82).
The eastern mainland states make up the majority of the industry deaths, with Victoria (159), Queensland (189) and New South Wales (246) topping the list.
Broken down into road transport sub-divisions, road freight transport is the clear number one in the Transport, postal and warehousing industry; resulting in 535 deaths over the 13 years, followed by road passenger transport with 48, taxi transport with 31, and bus transport with 17.
Of those 535 fatalities, 418 involved a vehicle collision, 35 involved being hit by a moving object, 23 involved a falling object, 17 involved being trapped between stationary and moving objects and machinery, and 13 involved falling from a height. 24 were classified as other.
The numbers have seen a strong reaction from the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU), which says more needs to be done by road authorities.
“The government is simply not responding to the unacceptable risk transport workers are facing,” TWU acting national secretary Michael Kaine says.
“It is every workers’ right to come home safe and yet these workers are expected to risk their lives while doing their jobs.
“There are pressures on truck drivers that make their jobs dangerous: they are forced to speed, drive long hours, skip mandatory breaks and overload their vehicles all because wealthy retailers and manufacturers are cutting costs and lowering transport contracts.
“This has a real effect and people are dying trying to deliver their goods. It has got to stop.”