WorkCover to blitz industry on fatigue

A blitz in NSW on trucking operators launched as part of moves to boost fatigue management compliance

WorkCover to blitz industry on fatigue
WorkCover officers will soon begin

By Brad Gardner | May 6, 2010

The NSW Government today unveiled a major new heavy vehicle safety campaign.

WorkCover inspectors will visit more than 80 depots and companies.

Events will also be held in five locations across NSW to improve driver awareness of fatigue management law.

"This campaign will include a crackdown on those not meeting their safety obligations and will advise drivers and companies of better ways to manage driver fatigue," Minister for Finance Michael Daley says.

The campaign will also involve improved information exchange between WorkCover, the police, the Roads and Traffic Authority and the Department of Environment.

Daley says there is a lot of pressure on long-distance drivers to meet delivery schedules due to the competitive nature of the trucking industry.

"These pressures can have fatal consequences for drivers and other road users," he says.

The move follows concerted efforts from the TWU for WorkCover to investigate delivery schedules.

The union is concerned drivers are forced to make unrealistic deadlines, jeopardising safety.

Daley says the Government has a responsibility to make sure all parties in the supply chain are held accountable for their actions.

"Whilst we recognise that the heavy vehicle transport industry is under pressure to cover long distances and faces stiff competition there is no excuse for sacrificing safety for the sake of profit," he says.

"It is simply unacceptable. It is blatantly flaunting the law and it puts others on the road at risk."

Daley says the campaign will build on Government efforts to improve safety practices in the industry.

"In 2006, NSW was one of just two states to introduce a fatigue regulation into OHS laws that places obligation on consignors, consignees as well as employers of drivers and head carriers to ensure that fatigue issues are managed across the transport supply chain," he says.

"Over the past four years WorkCover has provided more than $400,000 to the NSW Transport Workers Union under its WorkCover Assist Grants Program, for projects to raise awareness of fatigue in this industry."

Daley says the Government will continue to work with the trucking industry to improve safety.

Distribution depots and large transport carriers will be targeted.

The awareness programs will be held at truck stops by WorkCover and RTA officers.

A specially made CD for truck drivers will be distributed to encourage greater safety awareness.

Guidance material on how to reduce fatigue risks and meet regulatory obligations will also be sent to consignors, consignees, head carriers and industry associations.

"Our objective is really simple - ensuring all workers across NSW arrive home safely at the end of the working day," Daley says.

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