Linfox to look at dropped trailer policy

Linfox agrees to look at its approach to dropped trailers after TWU claims policy is counterproductive

Linfox to look at dropped trailer policy
Linfox to look at dropped trailer policy

By Brad Gardner | February 2, 2012

Linfox has agreed to look at its no tolerance policy on dropped trailers after meeting with union representatives who claim it undermines safety.

The Queensland branch of the Transport Workers Union believes Linfox’s decision to dismiss drivers responsible for dropped trailers will discourage them from reporting mechanical faults for fear of getting the sack.

The TWU began agitating for changes to the company’s approach after one of its members was fired late last year when a trailer fell off the back of a truck.

"The union met with senior Linfox management yesterday and relayed driver concerns that the policy runs counter to Linfox’s vision zero, and would lead to under-reporting of safety incidents," a spokesman for the TWU says.

"Management agreed to look at the matter and reconvene in a fortnight, with drivers present."

TWU organiser Brad Wyott says the union sought a review of the sacking of its member last year but Linfox stood by its decision. An internal investigation was carried out prior to the dismissal, but Wyott says the union has not been given a copy of the report’s findings.

He says Linfox’s stance is "a very serious safety matter" because mechanical problems with turntables, for instance, will go unreported.

"If it is a mechanical fault they’re not going to report it because they fear they will lose their job," Wyott says.

Linfox has defended its policy, with a spokesman calling it "fundamental to protecting the safety of our people, our customers and the communities in which we operate".

"Linfox training stresses the importance of correct coupling and uncoupling and all drivers understand their responsibilities. All incidents are properly investigated before any action is taken," the spokesman says.

The spokesman says the company will not change safety standards that protect its people.

Fair Work Australia recently ruled in Toll’s favour after it sent one of its drivers packing when a trailer fell off a prime mover at a Sydney depot.

Senior Deputy President Jonathan Hamberger says Toll had a valid reason to dismiss Gordon O’Hehir because he failed to follow correct procedures to make sure the trailer was connected.

Toll issued safety alerts months prior to O’Hehir’s sacking to remind drivers to properly secure trailers to prime movers. During a disciplinary hearing with the driver, it reminded him of the need to perform a ‘tug test’ to make sure a trailer was secure.

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