TWU wants Penrith operator investigated


Fair Work Ombudsman in talks with TWU over its call for a trucking company to be investigated following fatal crashes

By Brad Gardner | September 24, 2010

The Fair Work Ombudsman is in talks with the Transport Workers Union over its call for a trucking company to be investigated following fatal crashes on Sydney motorways.

Drivers who worked for South Penrith Sand and Soil will front court in October and November on dangerous driving charges stemming from separate incidents on the M4 and M7 earlier this year.

Police also allege the drivers had illicit drugs in their system while driving, prompting the TWU to call the Ombudsman to look at the company’s work requirements.

"If there is an incident where a number of drivers from the same company are taking drugs at work, then we really need to look at the workplace and client culture. We have enough people killed in our industry already without this being allowed to happen," TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon says.

A representative from Penrith Sand and Soil was unavailable for comment before deadline, but the company has already been investigated by police and Workcover over the incidents.

"The Fair Work Ombudsman is in discussion with the TWU in relation to this matter but FWO has not launched an investigation," a spokesman for the government agency says.

Sheldon claims the incidents show there are operators in the industry that should not be allowed to put a truck on the road.

He also wants the Ombudsman to look at the supply chain to determine if the customer or operator is pressuring drivers to commit unsafe practices.

A 27-year-old truck driver is accused of veering into the breakdown lane of the M4 and hitting a group of cyclist, killing one.

He has also been charged with manslaughter, aggravated driving, negligent driving and fatigue management breaches. He will appear before Penrith Local Court on October 13.

The 39-year-old truck driver is accused of colliding with a car in the breakdown lane of the M7 on March 24, killing the car driver.

He will face Blacktown Local Court on November 2 accused of dangerous driving causing death and negligent driving. Police have also charged him with illicit drug use.


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